Familiar Conversations on Romanism

Sixth Conversation

Apostolicity and Succession

J. N. Darby.

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276 We must now alas! plunge into details more horrible still. Bad enough that ambition and violence should be called apostolic succession, when it is quite impossible to know who was really pope, and two or three, and even four, were at the same time, of the last few: Benedict IV, Leo V, Christophle, Sergius. But it is now the most worthless of women and their illegitimate children who will dispose of the papal see as they please, putting in their paramours or illegitimate children.

R. They were very sad times, it is quite true. All Roman Catholic historians admit it. Baronius, as you know, says, how can he hold them for really popes who were thus put in? Only he must date by them. But God steered the ship of the church through all these waves and tempests, and the bark of St. Peter was never lost.

N*. St. Peter's bark I think little of; God's church will never, and can never, be hindered from arriving at port. What Christ builds, the gates of hell will not prevail against. But was Christ building all this? And remember we are looking for apostolic succession as a mark of the true church, and holiness too. If they are, it is quite clear the Roman church is not the true one, if church we are to call it. Come now, gentlemen, you make great account of the succession; you believe the existence of the church depends on it. Which of the four I have just named was the real pope?

277 R. We do not answer for irregularities in an evil time. We only say the succession was providentially secured.

N*. So as to be a ground for faith?

R. Yes.

N*. Well, which is the succession here?

R. Well, Benedict IV, Leo V, Christophle, Sergius.

N*. Does not Baronius admit Sergius sat during Benedict's pontificate!

R. Well, yes; but that is uncertain.

N*. What is certain?

R. The distance of time has thrown obscurity over it.

N*. True; that is, the boasted succession is quite uncertain. At any rate Sergius and Benedict were alive together, and which was pope?

D. Benedict was pope after the death of John IX.

N*. But Sergius had been chosen at the same time as Formosus, and was driven, as we have seen, from the altar when he was being consecrated. And if he was (and if not, it does not appear he ever was) Benedict could not be legitimate pope at all. The truth is, it was a struggle between the power of the Marquises of Tuscany and the Roman nobles, who had many of them fortified houses in Rome, who should have the upper hand, and whichever had put his creature in and his adversary's out, so that it is extremely difficult to know who was or who was not pope, till these wretched women, Theodora, Marozia, and the younger Theodora acquired paramount influence by their personal charms and wealth and noble race, and put in whom they would.

James. But what has this to do with apostolic succession? The apostles had little to do with all this.

N*. Nothing, James; save to shew that there was none. In the first case which we have gone through there is no certainty of any succession whatever but violence; in the second, the vilest of harlots putting in her paramours or children.

Bill M. But is this really all true, Mr. R.?

R. Well, the facts are very sad, as all own; but we must believe that God would not forsake His church, and that those who did sit as popes were regularly consecrated, and so communicated the deposit.

Bill M. But we are trying to find if it is His church or not; and you want me to believe it is, to shew me that there must have been succession. But I was told to look for the succession to know which was the church. We are looking for proofs of the true church, and Mr. O. made apostolic succession one of them, as does Dr. Milner. So we must get the fact to believe it is the true church; and there is no succession here, but two or three at a time, and driving one another out like robbers. And how can I know whether they were consecrated or not? Here was one of them driven out in the middle of it from the altar. How can I tell he was ever consecrated? If things went on quietly, we might suppose they were, if it was the rule; but, with all this violence, we cannot tell what was done. Then they set aside the ordinations, and others set them up again. This is no sure foundation to build a man's soul upon. I do not see anything apostolic, or indeed any Christianity in it at all. I am amazed: that is certain. How can people call such things the holy church of God? But I beg pardon; I'll say no more; but it is no good to tell a plain man that this is apostolic and holy, to find the church of God by.

278 N*. There is nothing, M., like having the facts in such a case; and if we are to believe it is the church without proof, I have no need to seek then the proofs or marks that it is so. The word of God is quite sufficient for me to build my faith on through grace. But you know this is the ground you were put upon, and so we went into it.

We have still a little farther to go to make the matter plainer if possible. "It is evident," says Baronius 900, 3), "no one could scarcely believe, nor is it indeed scarcely to be believed, unless one had himself seen it with his eyes, and handled it with his hands, what shocking and what base and hideous and execrable and abominable things the holy apostolic see was compelled to undergo, on which the whole Catholic church turns as on a hinge." This he attributes to princes meddling with it. But it was, remember, in the popes that sat on the see these things were found, and this dark state of things lasted and characterized, as Baronius states at the beginning of it, the whole century, till they called in a powerful Emperor, Otho, to set it to rights, swore fealty to him, got him to name a pope, and then rebelled against him. It had become hopelessly intolerable. It was partly, not all, the consequence of the interference of the Marquis of Tuscany and his family.

It is necessary to mention one fact in civil history to explain the history of the popes. The Marquis of Tuscany had got possession of the castle of St. Angelo, which still exists, and had been the tomb of the Emperor Adrian, but had been fortified and commanded the city. He gave this to a noble Roman woman, Theodora, not his wife, and she and her two daughters lived there and governed Rome. Her daughter Marozia had a son by Pope Sergius, with whom she lived. After Sergius came Anastasius, who, says Platina, lived modestly and in integrity. There was nothing worthy of reproof in him, a good deal to say in those days. After him came Lando. Theodora was all powerful at Rome. A certain presbyter, John, came from Ravenna to Rome, whom she seduced to live with her; one of her daughters living in adultery with Adelbert, Marquis of Tuscany, as the other had lived with Pope Sergius. Theodora had a son, Alberic, by the Marquis. Theodora makes Lando consecrate John to the See of Bologna, but Ravenna, a great archbishopric, falling vacant just then, she makes the pope promote him to that. Lando did not live long, and then she, not liking him to be at a distance from her, brings John to Rome and makes him pope. Such is Luitprand's (a contemporary who resided even at Rome) account, adopted by Baronius, Dupin, and Fleury. Muratori seeks to invalidate it some eight hundred years after, but nobody ever doubted it till then. Baronius does not attempt to deny it. His remark is this, "Such was the unhappy state then of the Roman church, that everything was set in motion by the will of the powerful harlot, Theodora, the mother. By her meretricious acts she had this power; but besides, the son of Adelbert, by his wife Wido, had married Marozia, the mistress of Sergius. What then was the face of the holy Roman church! how filthy when most powerful and at the same time base harlots ruled Rome, by whose will Sees were changed, bishops given, and, what is horrible and unutterable to be heard, pseudo-pontiffs their paramours were intruded into the See of Peter who are not to be written save to mark the dates in the catalogue of Roman pontiffs; for who can say that persons intruded by harlots of this kind without law were lawful Roman pontiffs? Nowhere any mention of clergy electing or afterwards consenting, all canons buried in silence, the decrees of pontiffs suffocated, ancient traditions and old customs in electing the sovereign pontiffs proscribed, and sacred rites and ancient customs utterly extinguished!" 912, 8, 7). He justly says all the clergy chosen by them were of course like them. Thus at Rheims, the Count Hugo made his son of five years old archbishop, and took the revenues; then, some getting the upper hand, another was consecrated, and there was a fight, and councils about that, and two archbishops at a time.

280 But if Baronius is right in this, that they were not legitimate popes, where is the succession? I know, he says, though the abomination of desolation was there, destruction did not follow as at Jerusalem, that Christ seemed to sleep in the ship, but He was there and the like, so that the church emerged out of it.

But we are seeking apostolic succession as a mark of the true church, and here we are for some fifty years without a true pope at all. There was no true succession, no election, no consent of the church, but nominees of vile women putting in their paramours or their sons without either. If this be apostolic succession, apostolic succession is a strange mark of the true church. And as Auxilius says, when they each annulled the ordinations of another, all was invalidated; there were no true ordinations, no true sacraments. What security is this for the church of God, or any soul to build its faith upon?

R. But, as Baronius says, the church emerged out of it, and was more flourishing than ever.

Bill M. But all this is very shocking, and to make the church of God, out of this and such things, a security for our faith, and their own great men saying they were not legitimate, so that whatever else there may be, there cannot be succession.

R. But you are not to take an individual's statement, however eminent, as an authority in matters of faith.

Bill M. And what am I to take?

R. The church.

Bill M. What church? The church of Rome governed by harlots? We are just looking for the true one. Is that the true church that was governed by these women, and the creatures they had about them? I never can think that is Christ's church. He does not govern His church by harlots. How they do deceive us!

D. Who deceives you? What right have you to make such charges?

Bill M. Milner deceives me, or had; for I am pretty well undeceived, to say the truth. To talk of the holy church and apostolic succession! And you, gentlemen, I must say, deceived me. You cannot deny these things are true.

281 N*. Allow me to ask, Who was the head of the church of God at this time?

R. Christ is always the head of the church, and He could and did take care of it.

N*. That I admit; but then if He be the head always, we have need of no other; nay, another is impossible: the church cannot have two heads. Christ is the one ever-living head of His body, and Son over God's house. But then what is the pope?

R. He is the head on earth, and vicar of Christ who is in heaven; and what he binds on earth is bound in heaven.

N*. Then they are no real heads, only representing Him who is Head, as you say. But were these infamous dependents on these vile women the vicars of Christ, and was what they did on earth bound in heaven?

R. What they did in their official capacity was bound in heaven.

James. This is very shocking. I had no thought it was so bad. To make these men the vicars of Christ, and their acts Christ's acts!

R. Not their wickedness; I say their official acts.

James. And is all my security to rest on my finding out what were official acts in this horrible history, even if they could represent Christ in anything?

N*. But you will please remember that we are looking for the true church by the mark of apostolic succession. That is the reason I quoted this well-known passage again, as I did as to holiness. But tell me, were their ordinations official acts?

R. Of course.

N*. Well, those of one pope were annulled by another as void from the beginning, and then set up again by a third. Auxilius wrote his book because prelates were disposed to give up their sees, as having no real orders, to persuade them not. What was — perhaps I should say which was — sanctioned by Christ here? But further. Here is your Baronius' account of those whom they did ordain. "Not only was Christ," he says, "asleep in the ship, but (alluding to the history in the Gospels) there were no disciples who should wake Him up, they were all snoring. What presbyters and cardinal deacons can we suppose should be chosen by these monsters, when nothing is so implanted in nature as that each should beget what is like himself? Who can doubt that they consented in all things to those by whom they were chosen?" (912, 8). And so history tells us it was; iniquity, corruption, vice, walked shamelessly abroad; and the clergy, the worst, were screened by official sanctity.

282 Now these were their official acts: I mean the putting the clergy into their offices. Were these sanctioned by Christ in heaven? The gates of hell did not prevail against the church which He builds, and that is all He says; but is this His church, the choice and installation of the clergy, of people like themselves, by these monsters, the work of Christ sanctioned by Him in heaven?

James. You surely cannot say that, sir?

R. All I say is that sacramental grace continued, so that the church endured.

N*. Even that is doubtful on your own ground, from what we have seen. Baronius will not own them for legitimate popes; some put those in the list that Baronius will not. How is a poor man like Bill M. to judge of such questions when he is seeking a mark of the true church?

D. He must humbly take it for granted.

N*. Take what for granted?

R. That God will be faithful to His church in spite of all.

N*. We do not doubt that. It is begging the question. We are inquiring which is the true church. Is he to take for granted that securing grace to monsters of wickedness by sacraments, and they communicating it to profligates like themselves, is sanctioned by Christ, and His way of maintaining the security of the true church, when he has been taught by yourselves to look for holiness as a mark of the true church and apostolic succession? when, if he could read these things, and were not deceived by men like Milner, he would know that Baronius says he cannot own them for legitimate popes?

When he says, Christ was still in the ship, it is saying that He did not fail when there were no legitimate popes, which I fully believe; but that is the ground we rest on, not yours. We own none to be legitimate, nor the papacy itself to be legitimate, but Christ to be faithful, and infallibly to assure His church to the end in spite of these illegitimate popes. But we hold all this to be illegitimate, and therefore not the true church. God is true if every man is a liar; but to make Christ sanction illegitimate monsters as the true church is horrible.

283 R. And how is a man to choose amongst all the Protestant sects?

N*. I do not want him to choose anything, but to bow to the word of God, and follow it.

R. But how can he tell it is the word of God?

N*. Of that we have spoken; but I answer briefly, by divine teaching. Do you not believe in preventing and assisting grace?

R. Yes, surely; I am no Pelagian.

N*. Well then, he learns its truth and power by that, quite recognizing that ministry of grace which may be a great help to him, while he must be himself taught of God.

D. But cannot grace make him subject to the church?

N*. When he has found it, as the word directs him. But he must find it first, and take the word for his rule, that is, believe in the word first.

But, if you please, we will continue our history. John X buckled on his armour, and led his troops with others against the Saracens with success; but Wido and Marozia were jealous of the authority of Peter, his brother, conferred on him by Pope John in Rome. They killed Peter before his eyes in the Lateran palace, and put John in prison, where he died, some say of grief, some of a violent death. Leo VI succeeded; he was put in prison, and died there after a year's and a few days' pontificate. Stephen VII (VIII) succeeded, and was over two years pope. Then Marozia put in her own son John, whom she had by Pope, or as Baronius says pseudo-pope Sergius. Wido died, and Marozia offered her hand and Rome to Hugo, King of Lombardy, brother by the same mother to Wido, who accepted it. But he insulted Alberic, son to Adelbert (Marozia's father) by his wife; he raised the Romans, and put Marozia and the pope in prison. Accounts do not agree how far he was allowed to officiate, some say privately, others more publicly. Alberic made him authorize the patriarch of Constantinople to wear the pallium without Rome's sending it.

For twenty years there is not much to remark. There were three popes after Leo VII who succeeded John to John XII. Alberic, who had so long ruled at Rome, had a son named Octavian, who inherited his authority, though the power of Otho I, an able prince, began to make itself felt in all the West; he was crowned Emperor by John XII (XIII). But this was later. This Octavian, it is said at the suggestion of the Romans, made himself pope, being a mere boy not possibly more than eighteen, probably a good deal less, not of an age to be a deacon, mimicking a pope in a play, says Baronius; but (though on no possible condition to be called a legitimate pontiff, no law in his election but force and fear, but as it was acceded to) it was better, he says further, as those worthless times persuaded, to bear with him than have a schism — no true pope at all, that is, rather than two questionable ones (955, 4). Octavian (or John XII) first led his troops to war against the Duke of Capua, but was forced to make peace. He then began a life of unparalleled debauchery. He wrote to the Emperor, whose influence now was great, to deliver him from the violence of the chiefs in Italy. The Emperor came and was crowned Emperor. The pope swore allegiance on the bodies of Peter and Paul that he would never in any way help Adelbert and Bereuges, the rebellious chiefs referred to; and all agreed that the pope should be canonically chosen, and not consecrated until he had bound himself, in presence of the commissaries of the Emperor, to preserve the rights of all.

284 However, no sooner was the Emperor's back turned than he joined Adelbert. The Emperor sent to Rome to inquire what. this meant. The answer was that the pope hated the Emperor as the devil hated his Creator; that he had turned the Lateran palace into a house of ill-fame; and they related the vilest wickedness of which he was guilty; and, not content with that, violated matrons and virgins in the very churches. Otho said he was a boy, and would, on being spoken to, mend his ways.

It resulted, after several missions, in Otho's coming to Rome, and the pope and Adelbert fleeing. The Emperor entered, and the Romans swore never to elect or have a pope consecrated without the consent of the Emperor. The Emperor, the prelates of Germany who came with him, and nearly all those of Italy, met in council. His misdeeds were publicly stated: he consecrated bishops for money, had made one of ten years old, drunk wine in honour of the devil, and with various cruelties caused the death of persons that were named. The bishops and clergy and people of Rome declared in the most solemn way it was all true. The Emperor wrote to him to say: "You are accused of homicide, perjury, sacrilege, incest with your own relations and with two sisters, of having drunk wine in honour of the devil, of having invoked in gambling Jupiter and Venus and other demons, and we beg you to come and clear yourself." The pope answered, "We have heard that you are thinking of making another pope. If you do, we excommunicate you in the name of Almighty God, so that you can do nothing, not even communicate as layman." They sent again, but John had left. The council deposed him, and chose Leo VIII, who sat as pope more than a year. Eighty-five prelates or clergy of Rome were assembled in council besides Roman nobles.

285 Otho, after troubles, and the Romans again swearing fidelity and giving hostages, left Rome, and at the instigation of Pope Leo gave up the hostages. John returned, held a council of twelve bishops (of the papal states chiefly), and twelve of the clergy of Rome, deposed Leo, who saved himself by flight, broke all his ordinations, perpetrated brutal acts against some who had borne testimony against him, and some three months after, being found committing adultery outside Rome, was killed by the husband — by the devil, if you believe Luitprand; and this is apostolic succession.

The Romans thereupon, not heeding their oaths, chose Benedict. The Emperor returned to Rome with Leo, whom the Romans recognized, and Benedict was brought before them. He humbly acknowledged his fault and begged for mercy, gave up his pallium and crosier to Leo, who broke the crosier and stripped him of his other robes, and he acknowledged himself a usurper. He was reduced to the diaconate, but was to go into exile, where he died peacefully at Hamburg. He seems to have been a quiet respectable man. Leo himself died very soon after.

The Romans, who (it seems) had given the Emperor the right to choose the pope in this synod, sent to him to know his choice. He sent ambassadors to Rome, and Jean, bishop of Narni (one of John's accusers) was unanimously chosen pope, and accepted by the Emperor. The latter seems to have been a wise, moderate, and moral prince. Baronius does not own Leo; he does own Benedict. Dupin does not own Benedict, he does Leo. Benedict had joined in choosing Leo. Certainly John XIII succeeded Leo, not Benedict. Fleury also owns Leo. Platina says Benedict was seditiously elected pope by John's friends; as to Leo, the Romans, finding John insupportable, begged the Emperor to choose one. He said it belonged to the people and clergy, and they chose Leo, whom he confirmed; then changing, they brought in Benedict. The Emperor came, and, tired with all these things, he transferred the right of election to the Emperor. This Platina was in office under the popes, and at last librarian, which involved other important charges.

286 Now here, with this pretended succession, all is uncertain as to who was really pope at all. Baronius has Leo IX afterwards, without any Leo VIII at all, concealing the difficulty; to say nothing of such an one as Octavian, of some sixteen years old (consented to because there he was by his own power, but confessedly no legitimate pope), as a proof of apostolic succession. The consent was merely that he was strong enough to maintain himself in his place till Otho came.

R. No doubt they were dark and dismal times.

N*. Be it so; but the darkness was in the papacy more than anywhere else (the Emperor seems to have been a worthy man), and we are looking for light as to the true church, and do not find it here — not on your own principles. True succession there was none. This is upon the face of your histories. You have no Leo VIII in your greatest historian, though he is obliged to put in Leo IX. The others explain fully what this means. He really sat as pope for more than a year, and died in the see, and John XIII was chosen on his decease. We can understand Baronius, because Leo was introduced by deposing John for his enormities, and he and all the Romans gave the right to choose and establish the popes to the Emperor, in order to have some decency in the matter; and they sent to the Emperor on Leo's death, who sent his commissaries to Rome for the choice of John XIII, being a moderate and able prince, who sought moral order at least in what he held to be divine and the church of God. I gather the facts from Platina, Baronius, Fleury, Dupin, all Roman Catholic historians.*

{*I have consulted Anastasius Bibliothecarius and Luitprand; others I take, as Baronius, etc., cite them.}

But we now arrive at utter confusion and uncertainty as to the whole succession itself. (Fleury 56, 36; Dupin, cent. 10, c. 2; Baronius 972, and following.) Domnus II, Benedict VI, Boniface VII (whom Baronius will not own, who plundered the Vatican church of all its wealth, and went off to Constantinople, but was a regularly ordained pope) follow — it cannot be ascertained as to the two first in what order. Baronius puts Domnus first, making him hold the see three months; Fleury puts Benedict VI first, then Boniface, then Domnus, but says many allege he was never pope. All is obscure as to him. Baronius says, "everything save that he was pope three months after John XIII is obscure." Dupin* puts Domnus first, then Benedict; Platina, Benedict first, then Domnus, then Boniface. Domnus' pontificate is quite uncertain. What comes of succession I know not. If pope, he was pope only three months. After a while he was pope (Baronius says the day after his death). Benedict VI was pope, whom others make to follow John XIII.

{*In this part of his Nouvelle Bibliotheque Dupin gives a chapter on the church of Rome. In Baronius the name of the pope at once gives the reference, as in Fleury.}

287 Crescens, or Crescentius, son of Pope John X, it is said, at the instance of Francon, called Boniface, put Benedict in prison, and Boniface became pope, and afterwards had Benedict strangled, so that he was never really pope as successor to another. After a year or more he too was obnoxious, and Benedict VII drove him away; but he escaped, and took all the treasures of the church with him to Constantinople, and lived on them. He never was truly pope, as Benedict VI was still alive, if we are to count him or Domnus. I do not pretend to unravel this history. Muratori and Fr. Pagius have contested the accounts of others, such as Hormann Contractus. I do not pretend to have examined and settled it. The last two, if I am not mistaken, with Sigbert of Gemblours, put Domnus between Boniface and Benedict VII. He, for once in these times, died quietly a natural death. John XIV succeeded; then Boniface came back, seized him on the throne, put him in prison and starved him to death, and sat as pope four months — murderer of two popes and robber of the church. Baronius will not own him for pope, but pope he was as much as others. It was a question really of political parties (Bar. 983, 1).

Boniface died in the papacy. His corpse was dishonoured by his own party (Dupin, cent. 10, C. 2). On his death a pope was chosen, and held the see four months, but was never consecrated, and is not reckoned. John was then chosen, called John XV. Crescentius took the castle, and the pope fled, but Crescentius was found to be quiet, and John returned, and held the see peaceably. The Emperor was in Italy, and the Romans sent to him. He recommended his chaplain, who was elected, and made Pope Gregory V; but Crescentius drove him away, and set up John as pope. The Emperor came, hanged Crescentius and his principal followers. John was deprived of eyes, nose, and tongue, and made to ride an ass backwards. He is said by Fleury (57, 49) to have been put in prison, but is no more heard of. John XV was the first who canonized any one. The council says, We adore the relics of martyrs and confessors (Bar. 993, 4).

288 Sylvester II followed Gregory V. He demands some notice, as the object of the utmost horror of Roman historians. Baronius declares him a horrible blasphemer, heretic, and schismatic (992, 22, and following), and spends folio pages in railing against him. Cardinal Beuno says he bought the papacy, and sold his soul to the devil, under condition that he should not have it till he said Mass in Jerusalem; but having done so in a church in Rome called Jerusalem, he died thereupon; and we learn from Sigbert that many in the twelfth century would not reckon him among the popes. However Baronius will not quite admit that. His commerce with the devil, however, obtained currency, as he was the most learned man of his age — a great mathematician and astronomer. But the motives of Baronius' hatred are hardly concealed. A council at Rheims had deposed Archbishop Arnulf for giving up the city to the Duke of Lorraine, one of the common political struggles with which the ecclesiastics were mixed up. Gerbert was ordained archbishop, but the pope put him down and set up Arnulf. The Emperor made Gerbert archbishop of Ravenna, a much greater see, and on Gregory V's death he made the Roman people make him pope. When turned out of the See of Rheims, he wrote against the popedom, and brought to light and depicted the frightful depravities and ignorance which characterized it, saying, if a man was not pious he was Antichrist, however he was ordained, and if ignorant, an idol. This, and his nomination by the Emperor Otho, excited the spleen of Baronius.

After him we find the difficulties of apostolic succession in our path. (Baronius, 1003, 9.) "John," he says, "XVI of that name, called XVIII; then another John XVII, more commonly XIX. Marianus Scotus, a writer of that age, calls XVI XVII, and the second, John XVIII; however, more frequent usage makes him XIX, but against all reason, as some in this number, schismatics, unworthy of the name of pope, are included." So Dupin: "John XVI according to us, XVIII according to others." This comes from John VI (or Pope Joan), whom Baronius will not recognize, and John, who sat as pope when he had turned out Gregory V, and was then turned out himself, and deprived of eyes, nose, and tongue. Fleury makes it, with Marianus Scotus, XVII XVIII; Baronius XVIII XIX, only that the first sat only some months, and hence is not counted in dates. The second of these Johns calls himself XVIII (Pagi ad B. 1003, 3). But then he reckons either Pope Joan (John VI) or the John that drove out Gregory. The uncertainty of succession, whatever its value, is evident; XVII and XVIII seem most generally owned, and the expulsor of Gregory owned as pope, so that there were two at a time, and not John VI. Platina counts XVIII XIX, counting the John who drove out Gregory and John VI.

289 In John's time it seems Constantinople and Rome were reunited in communion; under Sergius, not. It is not known why. Sergius, who followed, and his follower, Benedict, were of Henry of Germany's party (Bar. 1009, 4). The Romans made one Gregory pope, who drove out Benedict. He fled to Henry, who brought him back to Rome with an army, on which the Romans drove away Gregory, and took Benedict back. John, his brother, succeeded him by bribery (says Glaber, a contemporary author), when a layman wholly unordained. He dies. These two popes were brothers of the Count of Tusculum. He did not like the papacy going out of his family; so, by money and influence, his son, a boy not ten years old, was made Pope Benedict IX. Some affirm that John XIX was driven out, and re-established by the Emperor, but it seems uncertain. Some give Benedict seventeen or eighteen years; Fleury says only about twelve, but Glaber (quoted by Baronius, his contemporary), ten. His life was one of infamy, murder, and debauchery of every kind, till at last it was insupportable. He had sat ten or twelve years. The Romans put in his place the Bishop of Sainte Sabine, who became Sylvester III. But after three months Benedict returned, and drove out Sylvester of Sainte Sabine. But, desirous of devoting himself to pleasure, he agreed for a sum of money with John Gratian, arch-priest, that he should have the papacy, reserving only the revenues of England. Gratian became Gregory VI. A strange apostolic succession!

But there were now three popes. However, the Emperor came to Rome to put them all down. Benedict fled, Sylvester was sent back to Sainte Sabine, and Gregory arrested and finally sent into exile. No one was found at Rome fit to be pope, and Suidger of Bamberg, who was with the Emperor, was made pope by the name of Clement II, a respectable man, it seems. So now there were four popes at once. Clement II died in nine months; back came Benedict, though the Emperor had sent one Poppo, consecrated pope as Damasus II, but poisoned within a month, as is said. Baronius says Cardinal Beuno is not trustworthy, and Benedict sat as pope eight months longer. Baronius (1033, 8) would persuade us that the church of Rome suffered, did not do, all these things. But who was bribed to set up the boy Benedict? Who agreed to let him go with a sum of money and the English revenues? Who accepted the rule of Theodora and Marozia, and their sons made popes, and fathers of subsequent popes? The only decent popes, with very rare exceptions, were those put in by the Emperors. On the contrary, the evil was at Rome.

290 R. No doubt it is very sad, but your selecting these cases of wickedness gives a false idea of the general state of things.

N*. I am not speaking of the general state of things, however apparent it may be from what has been said. Had I done so, it would have been a history of murders, incests, crimes not to be named, and a depravity especially among the clergy, of which all contemporary writers are witness, as Ratherius and Damianus. Simony was universal. A pope introduced by the Emperor laboured, by himself and by councils, to put a stop to it.

But our present subject is apostolic succession. Now the four I have named are counted among popes at any rate there. Baronius has Benedict IX Gregory VI. He does not own Sylvester III (1044, 1, etc.), but says (from Otho Frisingensis) there were three schismatic popes at once. Damasus he does own. Platina says, "Damasus took the See by force, with no consent of clergy or people, for this usage had become so inveterate, that every ambitious person could invade the See of Peter." But God arranged it, he tells us, for he died in twenty-three days, so that some do not count him among the popes. At any rate Benedict was pope all the time. Baronius says he was regularly chosen, yet reckons among the popes Benedict, who was alive at Rome, and is said to have had him poisoned. Fleury says Benedict at last repented, and retired; and Poppo, whom the Emperor had sent from Germany, was consecrated the same day. I do not pretend to decide who is right or who is pope, but the vaunted succession is not worth a straw. It is making a mockery of religion and Christianity to rest anything upon it.

291 R. Why, then, did God bring it out of all this, and raise it to still greater power?

N*. The power was worldly power, which their cunning and men's superstition put into their hands, and it was over men of the world, and only lasted till it became quite intolerable where there was any conscience left. As to continuing, Buddhism has continued longer — from 540 years before Christ — has been much more moral, and has a vastly greater number of adherents to this day. This proves nothing. Spirituality does not go by number, and true Christians are a little flock.

R. What do you rest on then?

N*. We have spoken of it. The word of God, which knows no succession, being always itself; and the grace of Him to use it, who is ever the same. The faithfulness of Christ to His church can never fail.

As to the history, I should add here that Baronius distinguishes John and Gratian. John was a third schismatical pope; Benedict's conscience then yielded to conviction, and Gratian, or Gregory VI, was a regular and commendable pope. He says (following Otho Frisingensis) that he bought off all the three (heads of Cerberus, as he calls them) with money, (the English revenues being left to Benedict, as having most title), and then was made pope. This does not hang together with history however. It was poor repentance, being bought off with money and England's revenues; but there was a reason for Baronius owning him Gregory VII. The famous Hildebrand owned Gregory VI as legitimate pope, and called himself VII; so Gregory VI must be acknowledged. His paying the others to be gone, he will have it, was canonical virtue, not simony. However that may be, he was deposed in council on the arrival of the Emperor, along with Benedict and Sylvester, and taken to Germany, though Benedict managed to get the see for eight or nine months afterwards. Such is apostolic succession.

On the death of Damasus II, Leo IX succeeded, a very respectable man, a German, sent by the Eraperor, chosen at Worms, but who, it appears, only took the place on condition of the people and clergy of Rome confirming it. Victor II succeeded, also a German, under the influence of Hildebrand, afterwards Gregory VII; after him Stephen X of Lorraine. Then the Romans chose Benedict X; but Damianus and other cardinals left Rome, and chose another, Nicholas II, who was settled in the see by the Emperor's power, and Benedict degraded. And Nicholas first settled the popes should be chosen by the cardinals. These popes were Germans, and at least decent people. On the death of Nicholas there was great conflict for the papacy. Alexander was chosen, supposing it would please the imperial court. But the Emperor was not content. Another was chosen; the Emperor came with an army but was defeated, and in the Council of Mantua a compromise was made, and Alexander was sole pope. Cadulous (Honorius II) does not count in the list.

292 Gregory VII, the most able and ambitious of all the popes, came next. He had long governed Rome, and was seated in the papacy before his predecessor was buried (some say by soldiers, and a host devoted to him; some say the cardinals and people had their part). He sent to the Emperor, at any rate, to say it had been done without his will. The Emperor sent a commissioner to Rome to inquire, and found it better to acquiesce. He pushed the power of the pope to absolute dominion over everything, and enforced the celibacy of the clergy more than any of his predecessors. Meanwhile corruption reigned everywhere. The Emperor Henry struggled against his power, a struggle I need not enter into here; but councils were held in Germany. In that of Bresse, Gregory was deposed, and another chosen, who took the name of Clement III. Henry besieged Rome, took it, and Clement was placed in the see, and crowned Henry Emperor. Gregory sent for the Romans, and Gregory got into the castle of St. Angelo. Henry retired to his camp; Robert Guiscard, the Norman, fired the city, and in the confusion Gregory escaped, and (Baronius, 1083, 1, and following) retired to Salerno, under protection of the Normans, and died there. William, king of England, alone effectually resisted him, suffered his legates to hold no councils, nor the English and Norman prelates to go to Rome. Gregory it was who laid the foundation of Roman pretensions, the pride and the shame of the papacy.

The general state of the clergy at this time was indescribable in vice and degradation of every sort. Gregory VII enforced celibacy, which made it worse. It is impossible to describe the excess of wickedness and its universality among the clergy; but it is not our subject now, but succession. These German popes were brought in as no decent ecclesiastics could be found in Rome, and men were wearied with sin and violence. But, on the other hand, it was the custom for monks, as a way of holiness, to do penance for others by proxy. A man had sinned enough to be put to penance for 120 or 100 years. A monk undertook it, reciting the psalter, with flagellations, it is said about a thousand for 10 pss.; 3,000 were worth a year's penance, and so 15,000 worth five years' penance; thus twenty recitations and the lashes paid the whole hundred years. It took about six days thus for a hundred years' penance!

293 R. But you do not believe these ridiculous stories?

N*. There is no doubt it was the practice. It is the statement of one of the brightest luminaries of the age, who, if superstitious, at any rate sought to stop the floods of abounding iniquity, Peter Damian. He had learned it from Dominic. You may see it in Fleury (60, 52). In his letter, excusing what he had said of voluntary penances, he says that laymen get rid of them by giving so much money, and that was not in the canons, and why not monks by austerities? (Fleury, 60, 52, and Dupin, II, cent., c. 8). It was the same Damian who wrote a book about the prevalence of unnatural crimes among the clergy, approved by Leo IX, which the Pope Alexander II hid away for fear of scandal, refusing in council to take it up. Victor III and Urban II closed this century.

Gilbert of Ravenna, however, was still pope or anti-pope through their pontificates as Clement III, a council of thirty bishops and others having elected him and deposed Gregory VII at the time of the latter hurrying into the see before his predecessor was buried. Gregory, we have seen, died out of Rome, among the Normans. Paschal II, who succeeded Gregory VII, made war on Clement III, and drove him into Calabria. His first successor was, after four months, taken by Pope Paschal's troops and confined in a monastery; his successor had it three months and retired; the third, who took the name of Sylvester IV, was better sustained, but died soon after; so Paschal was sole pope. The Emperor and popes were at war. The Emperor had put Paschal in irons, and made him yield the right of the investiture of the prelates in their Sees. In this, on a trial with Callixtus II, as afterwards in France, the princes gained their point: only it was agreed to be done with the sceptre in Germany, by writing in France — not with staff and ring.

294 On Paschal's death Gelasius II was raised to the pontificate; but the Emperor came, and he, as yet only deacon, fled with some difficulty to Gaieta; but there was consecrated pope. The Emperor made another at Rome, Gregory VIII. After some time Gelasius fled, and died in France, where Callixtus II was chosen by the Romans with him, and acknowledged pope on his coming to Rome. Gregory VIII fled and shut himself up in a fortress called Sutri. After some time Callixtus sent an army, soon joining it himself. The inhabitants gave him up, and he died imprisoned, having been three years pope. All his ordinations were annulled. Honorius II succeeded; then Innocent II by some, and Anaclete by others, the majority at Rome being for the latter. Innocent fled, but was acknowledged by France, England, and Germany, not by Guyenne and Southern Italy. Lothaire came from Germany, and set up Innocent; but, as soon as he was gone, Innocent fled from the Romans again. But some in southern Italy took up arms, and, Anacletus' party being defeated, could do nothing against Innocent. Anacletus died; another pope was chosen, but finding he could not hold his ground, he submitted to Innocent, and all his ordinations were annulled.

R. But Anacletus is never reckoned among the popes.

N*. He was chosen by a large majority of the cardinals, clergy, and people. The civil power established Innocent, but Anacletus was canonically consecrated and installed. Innocent was elected by Honorius' private friends in secret before his death was publicly announced. He died at Rome, having been pope some eight years (Fleury, 60, 45; Dupin, 12, cent., chap. 3; Platina). Baronius makes antichrist of him 1130, 6). This he borrows from Bernard (Epist. 124, etc.), who was excessively active in promoting the cause of Innocent. No plain man sees why he should prefer to Anacletus, who sat at Rome regularly elected, Innocent who did not sit there.

R. But Anacletus could not be pope because Innocent was already.

N*. Innocent was chosen in a hole-and-corner meeting, before it was known Honorius was dead, because they knew this Peter de Lion (Anacletus) would be. But Peter was chosen by the large majority, so that Innocent had to flee, though he sought to defend himself by force — a pretty apostolic succession.

295 R. But the church owned Innocent.

N*. Not the church at Rome, if church we can call it at the time. But we are finding out the true church by apostolic succession, so we cannot find out apostolic succession by the church. But we shall have more of this when even this false plea fails. It is possible that if not Antichrist, at any rate what was antichristian sat at Rome in St. Bernard's time. But what comes for the holy Roman Catholic apostolic church of all the ordinations made for eight years? They were annulled, though I know not why he was not legitimate pope. But then what of all your sacraments meanwhile? Either they were void, or else, as is said, once a priest always a priest, and the decree of the council was invalid which annulled them. And they will have ordained others. All is hopeless confusion. Innocent carried on war in person against South Italy, and was taken prisoner. Eugene had to fight for Rome, was consecrated away from it, had to fly after his entrance, went to France, returned, took St. Peter's, which had been made a fortress, but died out of Rome. Anastasius IV succeeded him; then Hadrian IV. Alexander III was chosen after him, but also Octavian. At first France and England, and partly Italy, owned Alexander, but Germany only Octavian. Both had referred to the Emperor to have it decided, who summoned a local council in Italy to decide who had right. Alexander would not go, Octavian did, the council decided in favour of Octavian, and the Emperor never owned any other; at the end England joined him too.

France and part of Italy held to Alexander. Octavian called himself Victor III. The English and the French, though having long hesitated to pronounce because of the Emperor, held also local councils, who supported Alexander, and the French excommunicated Victor III. The Emperor convened one in Germany, having letters from Denmark, Norway, Hungary, Bohemia, and many prelates beside those present, and then Alexander was excommunicated. Frederick, the Emperor, proposed putting both down, and the French and English kings met him to settle it. Alexander would not go, and nothing was settled; then Alexander called a French council, and excommunicated Victor and all his adherents. Victor died, and Alexander went to Rome. Victor's party, however, chose another pope; Frederick supported him, but was defeated by the Italians, and his prelates were driven out of Lombardy, but Paschal remained seated pope at Rome, Alexander having offended the Romans. He died at Rome, and a successor was chosen to him too, but the Emperor made peace with the pope, and Alexander was received at Rome.

296 Now I do not pretend to say who was canonical pope; but we have half Christendom owning one whom the Romanists do not own, and the sacraments and ordinations in a vast extent of country depended on his being real pope. Out of Northern Italy, when the Emperor was beaten, all his partisans were driven out, whom all supposed in the succession of these sees. What became of succession? If ever there was a thing disproved, it is what is ridiculously called apostolic succession at Rome (Dupin, cent. 12, chap. 9).

If we are to believe the Council of Pavia, where were fifty archbishops and other prelates, with a quantity of abbots of Germany and Italy, and the deputies of France and England, after seven days' examination of witnesses and deliberations, the Emperor having left it to them, Victor III alone was duly elected and made pope. The majority of the cardinals were for Alexander, but the senators for Victor, and they put Alexander in prison; but he escaped by the intervention of the people (Fleury, 70, 41). Though the Emperor accepted Alexander, it does not appear Victor's party gave up. We read of one Lando antipope, calling himself Innocent III, who submitted to Alexander, the latter having made peace with the brother of Victor, who supported Innocent III, and bought the castle on which Innocent maintained his ground. This was the time of Waldo of Lyons. Baronius treats all the testimony received at Pavia as lies (1160), but gives no other facts than what are before us. I cannot find that he mentions Innocent III. Urban III, Gregory VIII, and Clement III follow in peace, as far as our question is concerned. Innocent III followed.

In his days, transubstantiation was made a dogma of, and the Inquisition established. Honorius was his successor. Gregory IX followed him. After him all was confusion. Two popes were chosen, but neither had a sufficient majority, according to the constitution of Alexander III that the majority of cardinals must be two-thirds. Both at last yielded, and then one of them, Godfrey of Milan, was chosen, Celestine IV, and died in about a month, some saying he was poisoned (Fleury, 81, 51). The see having been vacant a year and a half, the Emperor and the king of France, the former having marched against Rome to enforce his letters, at last compelled the cardinals to choose, and Innocent IV was pope; Alexander IV followed. Then three or four months' vacancy; there were only eight cardinals to choose, and they could not agree which should be pope. At last they chose the patriarch of Jerusalem.

297 Again four months elapsed, and Clement IV was chosen. Then intrigues for three years and no pope; the cardinals however made a compromise, and the pope, Gregory IX, made the constitution that the cardinals should be shut up till they agreed. Innocent V, Adrian V who died unconsecrated, John XIX or XX, XXI, rapidly succeeded each other within a year; then Nicholas III. Then after six months' delay, through intrigues of Roman families, one connected with the king of Sicily and Martin IV;* Honorius IV; then a year's vacancy, the cardinals were hardly shut up all the time; then Nicholas IV; then two years and some months; then Celestine was chosen and resigned the see for quiet, at the instance, some say, of Benedict, who got himself chosen in his place. Celestine renewed that decree to shut the cardinals up, and made another that popes might resign — a useless one, says Dupin: no one ever did since (cent. 12, chap. 3; Fleury, bks. 79 to 87). Boniface VIII succeeded.

{*Or II here only, because Marin has been confounded with Martin. This, and one of the Stephens, do not affect the succession, like the Johns and others.}

In Celestine's time, if we are to believe it, the Virgin Mary's house went over the sea of its own accord to Loretto; Raynaldus (we have Baronius no longer) says he does not know from what motive.

I have gone rapidly through these last-named popes, as (though the intrigues of cardinals are very little like apostolic succession, and the ambitions of eight men a very questionable source of Peter's authority, and long vacancies prove what was at work) there is nothing peculiar. We have no pope at all, instead of two at a time. The times were changing. But how the pope could give exclusive authority to his nominees to choose a successor to Peter, I know not; as a human provision against tumults and fighting, we can easily understand it; when they snatched a man from the altar while being consecrated. But what all this has to do with apostolic succession is hard to tell.

298 James. I am sure it is a disgraceful history of ambitious men, not apostolic succession. I see in scripture Paul looked for no apostolic succession, but ravenous wolves to come when he was gone. But at any rate this is all a history of ravenous wolves more than apostolic grace and authority.

Bill M. It is all shocking; but what I feel most is how they deceive one in talking of holy and apostolic. If the church be holy, this is not it. As to succession, no simple person could find out where it really was; and to say that these monsters, as some of them were, were successors of the apostles is too bad; it shocks a man's conscience. Why, the devil was revelling in wickedness there.

R. But the grace was handed down.

Bill M. What grace? And when there was no pope for two or three years, where was the grace and the head of the church then? And when there were two or three, and even whole countries owning each, who can say where the grace and the title was?

R. But we only count those who were recognized by the church.

Bill M. But some recognize some, and others others; and how am I to settle it?

N*. M. is quite right; for example, Gregory VI, was he a real pope?

D. I suppose we must reckon him such, as the great Hildebrand called himself VII, and so Baronius owns him.

N*. But he resigned and owned he was not one, having been set up when Benedict IX was there, but such a monster that he was first driven out, and then went to pursue his pleasures. So in other cases.

R. Well, I hold to the church's judgment on these things, and recognize as popes those she does.

N*. Where is that judgment? We have Baronius declaring that for a hundred years he must put in their names as dates, but otherwise cannot recognize as legitimate popes infamous men put in by the mistress of the Marquis of Tuscany or of the popes themselves; and he admits there was no election or consent of clergy, only it was acquiesced in to prevent schism. I go on your own principles, for I agree with M. that it does shock natural conscience to think such people successors of Peter. It is making grace, or the security of the means and channels of grace, the security of unholiness: grace has its security in holiness. If so, I need not look for holiness as a mark of the true church; it is secured without it, and Christianity becomes a guarantee of unholiness being no matter.

299 R. This is strong language, sir.

N*. Is it not true, if what proves the church and secures grace is the most awful system of wickedness and series of wickedness we have on record?

R. I do not know that we can gain anything by pursuing the subject. The church and its unity are thrown overboard by you, and it is hopeless then to come to any conclusion or to find any security at all.

N*. We are looking for the true church as taught by your own doctors, and just now by the mark of apostolic succession; consequently we must have the facts. Nothing, I admit, can be more absurd than to set any one to build his faith upon such ground, and to say he cannot find the true church, on which the word of God affords him with divine authority the fullest light, without going through this long dark history of wickedness.

D. But all the bright examples you leave out.

N*. Which are they? A few popes introduced by the Emperor were decent people, and poor Celestine, who resigned his popedom because he was not man of the world enough to manage things; but, save two or three, it was one series of wickedness. I have not now gone into the revolting accounts of crime, simony, wars, and violence which make up the history of these times. It was in these times that the cardinal who relates the history of the general council of Lyons at which Pope Innocent excommunicated and deposed the Emperor Frederick, and professed to reunite the Roman and Greek churches, declares that their stay there had made one universal brothel of the whole town, and that with shocking levity, saying that they ought to be grateful; there were two when they went there, but now only one, but that it reached from the west gate to the east. Damianus' book I have already referred to; but I have confined myself to the question of succession. I understand you have not much to say, because I have merely related the facts as recorded in Roman Catholic historians, or ancient annalists.

300 Baronius admits that in some cases there was no choice or consent of the clergy whatever. To avoid the crimes committed, for a long time the Emperor put them in; then, when more free from the Imperial power, to avoid these things it was put in the cardinals' hands, and, as their ambition and jealousies sometimes kept the system without any head for several years, or two were named, they settled that two-thirds must concur, and they were to be shut up till they had a sufficient majority; and this is still the rule. It is said that, after the death of Innocent IV in Naples, the governor shut the cardinals up in the house he died in till they elected one. But, however absurd resting the certainty of one's faith and the continuance of grace on such a history, it is utterly impossible to base apostolic succession on it. We shall find papal breaches in the succession yet wider in the next century, and two or three popes at a time excommunicating one another, and then all deposed.

R. I know it was so, but it has been healed.

N*. Healed by others interfering and putting them all down; but then where was the succession? Through whom was it conveyed when there were two, and half Europe recognized one, half the other? And to whom was the pope a successor, when two and even three were deposed? It was a new appointment by a council, not a succession. Indeed why a choice by people, or emperors, or cardinals, should make a successor of Peter would be hard to tell.

Bill M. I do not see much Christianity at all in all this.

N*. I see none at all. But I suppose we must break up; but we will meet again, and if these gentlemen are inclined, they can of course come; but we will pursue for a while the history of the popes.



N*. Good evening, James, and you too, M. We can go on without these gentlemen. And as we are going through the facts of history, very little of course can be said, and the great schism which broke out in Rome in this century is so well known that no one can call it in question; but it upsets all pretence of a regular succession altogether. There are a few pontificates to notice before we come to it. Boniface VIII begins the century. He was in continual conflict with the civil powers, (excommunicating and deposing emperors and kings), especially with the king of France, whose agent in Italy finally took him prisoner; and, though rescued by the inhabitants of Anagni where he was, he died almost immediately after of chagrin.

He was violent and imperious to the last degree; many alleged that he was no true pope, as no pope could resign as Celestine had done to make way for him, and if so, he could not be pope as Celestine was. The latter alleged the example of the first Clement, whom Peter had named and resigned, because no pope ought to be nominated by his predecessor, and so was pope after Linus and Anacletus. He was charged also with poisoning Celestine. Wickedness and violence were so rife, that crimes and false accusations from supposing them were both so common that it is often hard to tell what is true. He was charged with heresy, denying the immortality of the soul, and all manner of crimes; but it was all quashed in the Council of Vienna.

Benedict, called XI and so recognized by subsequent popes, followed this title, however set up as Benedict X one who was not reckoned lawful pope — so uncertain is the succession. Raynald (Cent. of Baronius) says he took the name of Benedict XI (though if the thing be more accurately examined he was only X) 1303, 45). He was respectable, but fond of monks, and was (it is believed) poisoned, and it seems to be proved (Rayn. 1304, 35). He revoked all his predecessor's acts against Philip. In all these times excommunication and deposition of kings and emperors were the common weapons of war between state and church.

There were now two parties in the body of cardinals who chose the pope, and so evenly balanced that they could not agree; hence for some time there was no pope. At last they agreed that the Italian party should name three French prelates, and the other choose one out of them in forty days' time, for the parties were the French and Italian parties. The Italian named three French greatly opposed to the French king: but before the French party selected their chief, knowing the ambition of the first of the three, he sent to the king, who told him he could get him made pope if he agreed to his conditions; he accepted all, with one secret one, and was named by the French party, the Italians thinking they had their way, and that a friend of Boniface's, against the king, was chosen. He became Clement V, and did everything openly agreed on with Philip — a nice specimen of succession to the apostolate of Peter. He stayed in France, but after staying awhile at Bordeaux and Poitiers, settled at Avignon, which did not then belong to France, and there the popes were for seventy years, called by the Romans the Babylonish captivity. The Emperor set up another pope at Rome, Nicholas V, but he did not succeed in his plans, so that after some time this Roman antipope submitted himself to Clement. The abuses in the monarchy, and in the way the pope, by various inventions, got all patronage into his hands at this time, incensed the nations. (Fleury, 90, 49; Dupin, cent. 14, C. 1; Rayn. 1305, 2, 3). Clement V passed away.

302 The difficulties were greater than ever. The Italians wanted the pope back to Rome, the French to keep him. The decision being long protracted, the mob assembled, the place was set on fire, some say by the cardinals, others by their servants or the mob. The cardinals dispersed, and could not be got to trust each other to come together. At last the next French king sent his brother, who invited them individually to Lyons, had long conferences with them, but in vain; at last, having summoned them all to a monastery, shut them all up, and would not let them out till they chose a pope. They spent forty days still, and John XXII was elected. Some say, not being able to agree, they did agree to put the nomination in his hands as a cardinal of no account, and he named himself, having sworn not to mount horse or mule if it were not to go to Rome, and so went by river to Avignon, and walked to the palace. At any rate he sat pope at Avignon. Pope John condemned as heretical what Nicholas III had affirmed (Fleury, 95, 15). It was in his time Nicholas V was set up by the Emperor. He also published dogmatic sermons on the beatific vision of God, condemned as heretical by the universities and other doctors, and their judgment was published. He would have left it open, but the doctors were firm. It is said he fully retracted on his death-bed. However one of the friars was burned under John XXII, and two by Innocent VI, at Avignon. Four were also burned at Marseilles for holding absolute poverty to be the right path, which Nicholas III had pronounced right. Benedict XII succeeded John. The first thing he did was to preach against his predecessor on the beatific vision, and then held a consistory, with many doctors, on which the proposition of Pope John was formally condemned, and those who maintained it were declared heretics.

303 Bill M. But I thought the popes were infallible.

N*. So they have decreed lately. But they have been, as we said before, openly condemned as heretics, as Honorius. Liberius signed an Arian creed. And here one condemns the views of another as positively heretical, and another burns two friars for persisting, as to Christ's possessing nothing, in the opinion affirmed to be true by his predecessor, Nicholas III. Clement VI, Innocent VI, Urban V, and Gregory XI, some time before they died, made a declaration, by which they retracted all that they might have advanced in disputing, or in teaching, or preaching, or otherwise (Dupin, cent. 14, c. 3), so that they hardly thought themselves infallible. I suppose the Romanists would say it was not ex cathedrâ, but disputing, teaching, preaching, or otherwise, takes a pretty wide scope, and what was pronounced ex cathedrâ would come seemingly within teaching, preaching, or otherwise. At any rate, if a man may teach and preach, and in every other way of communicating his thoughts teach error, his pronouncing ex cathedrâ is not worth much. In disputing, a man may be hurried away. But the apostles, whose place they pretend to hold, know nothing of their preaching or teaching error (quite the contrary), and their being safe when speaking ex cathedrâ. It was their teaching and preaching which was inspired. But we are tracing succession.

Why a number of French cardinals electing one of their number at Avignon should make a person bishop of Rome, it would be hard to tell. But we will proceed with our history, for we are at an important epoch.

304 Gregory XI died at Rome when on the point of going back to Avignon. The Romans insisted on a Roman, or at least an Italian, prelate, and attacked the conclave, so that the cardinals were in fear of their lives. The greater number of them were French, but of these many were of the country of Limoges, so that they did not act together, as these wanted one of their party, the other Frenchmen not. There were only four Italian cardinals. It is said that one was made to put his head out of the window, to tell the people to go to St. Peter's, which was taken by the people to mean that they had elected the cardinal of St. Peter's. Meanwhile it was proposed to elect the Archbishop of Bari, who at any rate was an Italian, but not a cardinal; the French party say he was only elected to pacify the people, with the understanding that he was not to take the papacy, the choice being only made under the influence of fear of the populace, and hence having no validity, and so afterwards they certified the king of France. So Dupin. The Italian party, while not denying the clamours and violence but making them arise later in the affair, insisted that the election was regular and valid. Fleury's account gives this colour to it. Raynaldus, of course, insists that it was free, and urges that the people's leaders went to the window, and insisted it should be a Roman, and that the choice of one not a Roman proved that they were free.

The tumults then were great, at any rate. Some would have made the Cardinal of St. Pierre pope, but he disclaimed it; and the Archbishop of Bari was crowned and enthroned pope in the midst of these tumults. He took the name of Urban VI. But the cardinals were not content, and under pretext of the hot weather went to Anagni, and there they chose one of their own body, who became pope also, under the name of Clement VII, who removed to Avignon. The cardinals sent a long account to the king of France, who assembled prelates and doctors, but not satisfied with this, sent ambassadors to Italy to ascertain the facts, and on their report owned Clement to be the true pope. Spain, after some time, owned him too. Urban was occupied with politics and fighting in Italy, but he succeeded in maintaining himself as pope there, and putting down the Clementines tolerably completely, though Jeanne, queen of Naples, was for Clement, but she lost her kingdom and her life. England and Germany were for Urban, Scotland for Clement, Northern Europe for Urban, but Lorraine, Savoy, and other provinces for Clement. Each pope condemned and excommunicated the other and his adherents. Both consecrated prelates and clergy; so that the idea of a secure succession and the maintenance of the church in sacramental grace by it is a simple absurdity. If Urban, as Raynaldus and Platina would have it, was pope, then all France and Spain, and other countries, were excommunicated out of the pale of the church, and all their orders invalid, and all they conferred on others null and void, and all the sacraments which they hold to be necessary to salvation invalid and of no efficacy.

305 James. But what do they say to all this?

N*. They deplore it, of course, and say it was a source of infinite mischief, but, as Raynaldus expresses it, that He who has dominion over heaven and earth brought the church out of it. We shall see how they got out of it; but the whole order of succession and clergy was broken in upon while it did last. Urban may have been true pope on their system, but hardly so if what all the cardinals and others allege was true. He was named, they declare, under violence and threats, to escape the populace. The riots and violence, and the attacking the conclave, are not denied; and as soon as they got out of Rome they protested; and France, and Spain, and Naples, and other places accepted their view of the facts. All is uncertain in the succession. It is not denied there was the utmost violence and tumult. Contemporaries state that the people forced their way armed into the court of the palace of the conclave into which they had been driven with threats by the populace. Bundles of rice stalks were laid under it to set it on fire; and they threatened to cut down the cardinals if they did not choose a Roman. The heads of that district of Rome came and told them they must do as the people required, or they would suffer violence.

The Archbishop of Bari had been previously in consultation with the cardinals, and, though an Italian, being opposed to the Romans, the cardinals thought he would go with them in their views, and was then chosen in a hurry, as it was thought he would reject it. If so, the temptation was too great. This account seems pretty well authenticated. It is to be remarked that the Italian cardinals, three at least out of four, joined the rest at Anagni, where they went, and then to Fondi, to be secure to choose Clement VII. Various depositions are given in Balergius' "Notes to the Lives of the Popes of Avignon," and especially those of the cardinal of Florence. If he tells true, Urban's friends were false and perjured in their statements. One thing is clear, the French would have had a Frenchman for pope* if they could, and that fear actuated them in choosing Urban VI; on the other hand they were jealous of the cardinals of Limoges, because the Avignon popes had been thence. The fullest and clearest account of the proceedings, as far as I know, is the first life of Gregory XI, in Balergius (443, and following). Before the conclave, according to this account, the Romans had driven the upper orders out of Rome, and introduced a mass of rough countrymen, taken possession of the gates, that the cardinals might not leave, and when they met, broke in with them. The Bandarenses, chiefs of the twelve districts, had warned them before individually, and on going into the conclave assembled them, and said they must elect a Roman, or at least an Italian, or meet with worse; and the mob filled the palace and room under the hall of conclave with weapons and dry reeds, and all night rioted there, vociferating while they were saying the Mass of the Holy Ghost.

{*"Notae ad Vitas Paparum Avenionenum," page 1040, and following.}

306 The cardinals sent the three deans or chiefs of the three classes of cardinals (the people having insisted on the windows being opened) in the hope of calming them, but in vain; and a second time, but the people raged violently at the doors, insisting on the nomination of a Roman or Italian, threatening death, etc. They thus chose Bartholomew, Archbishop of Bari, as he had been present at the Roman consultations to force the choice of a Roman, was a doctor of canon law, and supposed to be upright. They supposed he would give it up when elected, and there was calm. For the same reason they had to go through with and crown and enthrone him. The account is by one who favoured Clement, but it all hangs perfectly well together, and the main points are certain. That they were forced by the populace against their inclination is certain, for they would have desired to go to Avignon. Whether it was sufficient to annul the election is another question. Of course the Romans, as such, call the others schismatics. But it clearly was not so certain. The university of Paris, writing to Benedict XIII, just elected, on the point, says: "Clever and upright men scarcely see their way in it" (Quicquam ibi videant). Nicholas, Cardinal Panormitanus, says that the pontificate of Benedict XIII (of Avignon) was probable; for the question was arduous in law and in fact.

307 Cardinal Cajetan (or de Vio, legate to Germany about Luther) reproves those who consider either obedience, so-called, schismatic; declaring that the right of each had been, and was, doubtful, and what is positive on the point is, that both were deposed as popes from their papacy, and Martin V confirmed the decree of Constance, which by depriving both recognized both; and Sylvester Prierias says neither were; as men most skilled in scripture and canon law, and pious, and more, conspicuous as workers of miracles, adhered to each; and that it was necessary to believe there was only one pope as one church, and whichever was canonically elected; but no one was obliged to know which was, nor canon law. In this the people will follow their ancestors or prelates. This is a strange certainty of succession — so uncertain that nobody was bound to say which was true; the general council and pope treating both as true, which, according to the famous Dominican, was contrary to what was necessary to salvation, for men were bound to believe there was only one. Another says plainly that for those forty years he does not know who was pope. (See preface to Balergius.)

Bill M. But this is poor ground to build a man's religion on.

N*. I should think it was; but succession is one of the marks Dr. Milner and all give of the true church.

Bill M. I do not see who is to find it, if it is.

Mrs. James. But I do not understand, sir, how a person who reads scripture can think of such things being a security at all. If my faith rested on all this, where should I be? It is a sad history; but from what I have heard (and those gentlemen that were here yesterday did not deny the facts), I do not see how they can put the church in connection with such things. And when there were two popes at a time, and whole countries, and the clergy in them, following such, succession could not have been a proof of the true church, for there was no sure succession there. But what strikes me most is how foreign it all is to everything in the word of God.

N*. Foreign indeed! We are following it out, because above all it is the ground this pretension to be the true church is based upon. But men may take up scripture as a matter of learning, not in its power over the conscience, and as working faith by the power of the Holy Ghost in grace. A mere store of learning is a different thing from God's word brought with divine power to the soul. It is conscience that is cognizant of, and intelligent in, the word of God, because it is what the word acts on. It is man pretending by his mind to judge the word that leads to what is called rationalism. The human mind thinks it can judge of scripture; but this is denying it to be the word of God, to start with, for, if it be, I must bow to it. And hence it is that, while we must have divine teaching by grace to use it, the simple, if humble, understand it better really than the learned, because they come to it as God's own word for their consciences and hearts, and not to discuss and judge about it, so that it practically loses that character. "I thank thee, O Father," said the blessed Lord, "Lord of heaven and earth, for thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." Of course, if an ignorant person is not humble, and affects to judge about it by his own mind, he will go astray like another. He is not before the word as if God were telling him His thoughts, as He is there.