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in setting downe lawes for us without assent, consultation, or privitie of our bodie: and in annexing also such kind of faculties to some of them, as haue hardly a president, which is not suspension from use of faculties, but utter losse of faculties ipso facto without declaration." The remedy was bishops. “Paul quite undoeth this poor church," wrote Mush, "by depriving it of ordinary pastors, by which our Savior appointed all particular churches to be governed. Verily, here is nothing but most lamentable confusion, debates and factions among both clergy and people; and every day much worse than other, whiles every one is left to themselves and none to govern or have care of the whole. We are all immediately under Paul. He is far absent; can he then, with safety of his own soul, keep this charge, without sending and appointing some other bishops in his place to minister necessaries unto so great a people ?’’? But the seculars, having refused to obey the Archpriest, were in a quandary; for, having rebelled against the only constituted Catholic authorities in England, they had now no legal standing at all. Without leadership, without organisation of some sort authorised or confirmed by the Pope, their followers would soon drift away, the laity would soon become suspicious of men who apparently denied the papal authority, and every object for which they had striven would be irretrievably lost. Hence, the desire for Catholic bishops, which had been so strong ten years earlier, and which indeed had been kept alive ever since, was revived with great eagerness. The problem was, however, not of a nature to be solved by one remedy alone.

In reality, the situation was so exceedingly complicated and confused, that it was difficult to see what the remedy should be. There were, at that time in England, the secular priests educated at foreign seminaries, with the Archpriest at their head; the Jesuits, under a Vice Prefect; the Benedictines and a few Franciscans, each under their own officers. None of them had explicit

1 S. P. Dom. Jac. I, 36, no. 24, of their presence and hostility to the September 20, 1608. Reported in a Jesuits, had grown in strength very letter from John Colleton himself to rapidly. The rise of these other Father Parsons. Printed with mod orders of the regular clergy is one of ernised spelling by Tierney, V, xlvii. the significant developments of CathSee, however, V, xx.

olie history in England after the 2 Tierney, IV, clxxix.

death of Elizabeth, and marks the 3 These Orders had only recently beginning of the era of practical tolobtained a foothold, and encouraged eration. The seculars believed the by Bancroft, who saw the advantages

Benedictines were more favored by

authority over the laity or over one another; but, whilst the regular orders were upon their ordinary status, the seminarist clergy were in a very anomalous condition. It was never true that the Archpriest stood at the head of a well-compacted organisation, with definite forms, powers and traditions. He was in reality a temporary dictator, whose behests were executed by eight or more assistants, each supreme in his own district; and whose authority was absolute except for appeal to the Curia at Rome. Like all dictatorships, the office possessed few legal forms, no legal traditions, and very ill-defined prerogatives and powers. If it became necessary to discipline a priest, the Archpriest alone, upon his own initiative, from such information as he was able to gather, could arbitrarily suspend the offender, or deprive him of his faculties. Appeal was difficult, and in all minor matters his discretion was absolute; for he was compelled to report to no one, and had none near him to spy upon his movements.? The weight of tradition, the necessity for the observance of legal form, which curbed the powers of the regular church officials, were all lacking in this case. It was essentially a military organisation, meant to bind together, in the face of persecution, the few faithful upon whose efforts depended the vitality of the faith in the breasts of the English Catholics. However necessary this may have been when Parsons conceived the office of Archpriest, it was by no means essential in 1608, for the assumption on which it rested had disappeared—the Catholics had no longer to face the determined attempts of the State to exterminate them. On the contrary, the State, under the direction of Bancroft, was indirectly assisting their attempts at organisation. Moreover, the nucleus for an ordinary episcopal system already existed: many of the priests had the State than the Jesuits, “being you can (having admitted my apmen who would not deale in state peal) take this severe course so inmatters as the Jesuits did,' and finitely to my own hurt.” Colleton would seem to have made some over to Blackwell, March 10, 1600-1. Tiertures them for assistance in their

ney, III, cxlv. “It is not his holibattle with the latter. Stonyhurst ness' intention, and never was, that MSS. Anglia, A, III, no. 89. July in exercising of my authority for cor26, 1608.

rection of manners and conserving of i There is no full statement by any our ecclesiastical discipline and peace contemporary of his position, and it in this time and in these difficulties has to be pieced together from many we should be bound in anywise to the scattered sources.

form of contentions and court trials.'' 2 That “being the imposer of these Blackwell, manifesto of June 17, 1600. heavy censures you would not refuse Tierney, III, cxli. to acquaint me by what law or right

already been assigned definite residence in some district where they were expected to minister to the spiritual needs of the laity; the alms fund, contributed by the wealthy, was sufficient to provide maintenance for them all, if only it could be properly administered; the State was willing to see the bishops appointed, provided all Catholics would take the oath of allegiance, and provided the leaders would maintain secret relations with some bishop. There were, however, several very real obstacles besides the papal reluctance to give the desired orders.

The clergy whom the Archpriest directed were almost exclusively educated abroad at the seminarist colleges at Douay, Rome, Valladolid, and the like, where the certificate of fitness, signed by the rector, was a necessary preliminary to the receipt either of a degree or of the ordinary faculties of a priest. Inasmuch as the rectors of most of the colleges were Jesuit sympathisers, and inasmuch as the right to send students to the colleges had passed out of the hands of the English clergy into the control of influential Jesuits in Europe, the Archpriest and the English local clergy, except so far as they were willing to become amenable to the Jesuits, had no influence whatever upon the character and fitness of the clergy sent on the English mission. Hence, the movement set on foot by the seculars for the control of the seminarist colleges, under the specious suggestion of providing education for controversial writers, meant an attempt to secure the right to determine the quality of the clergy of whom their institution was composed. The Jesuits, too, had for some years administered the alms fund with the connivance of the Archpriest, and had spent the bulk of it abroad. To have an archpriest free from Jesuit influence at the head of a body of priests while the membership and the income of the organisation were firmly in the grip of the Jesuits, had produced an anomalous situation, of which the latter had been quick to take advantage. They had collected the money so far as possible by their own agents, and had attempted to starve out the seculars by withholding the funds. As fast as men faithful to the interests of the Society could be pushed through the colleges, so as to receive a faculty (and some of them stayed only a few months), they


1 Tierney, V, 7, note: lxxxiv for 3 Tierney, IV, clxxx, note.

4 Heburne to Blackwell, Arch priest 2 Tierney, V, viii, lvi, lxxi.

Controversy, II, 224.

were shipped over to England,' partly from a desire to embarrass the Archpriest, who had to provide residence and income for them, but chiefly from the hope of gradually changing the balance of the secular clergy. But both schemes only swelled the adherents of the seculars, for, after the Jesuit follower had suffered for a few months from exposure and scant food, and after he learned that the lack of money arose from the Jesuit administration of the alms fund, he was often among the loudest in his denunciations of the Fathers. Others still renounced Catholicism and joined the English Church.

There was, therefore, no doubt that the confusion was great. Four separate bodies of Catholic clergy, without legal connection with one another, and none of them with authority from the Pope to do more than to make converts, were struggling to influence the English laity to follow them. The alms fund, meant to support the seculars, was controlled by the Jesuits and turned to their uses; and the colleges for the education of the clergy, whom the Archpriest was to rule, were governed by Jesuits and Benedictines. Couple to this diffusion of energies and this warring of factions, a further split which divided all the groups into men in favour of the oath of allegiance and those bitterly opposed to it; and an additional schism between the seculars and the regulars over the inauguration of episcopal authority; and it will be readily appreciated that the situation was complex in the extreme. Then, among the seculars who were willing to take the oath of allegiance, there was a party which followed Blackwell and Bishop, and another which obeyed Mush and Colleton and which later gave in its adhesion to Birkhead, the new Archpriest. The papal breve forbidding the oath of allegiance caused further schism, because part of the priests (on the whole the Blackwell faction) were ready to take the oath in the face of the prohibition, and others, who had hitherto been favourable to it, now hesitated and drew back. Certainly, if Bancroft's sole object, when he undertook the negotiations with Bluet in 1601, had been the sowing of discord among the English Catholics to prevent concerted action against the State,

1 Tierney, V, 8, note. 6. The in

that now

come hither are disgraced sufficiency of such as come is another with, it is not to be expressed the shame to us ... add hereunto the obloquy the Church of God endureth lack of knowledge and learning or


John Bennet to Smith, other good parts that most of them October 19, 1609.

the effect must have far surpassed his expectations. Yet, despite all this confusion and disagreement, three points were gradually but clearly emerging from the chaos,--practical immunity from the penal laws for all Catholics who would take the oath of temporal allegiance and the union of all secular priests and laity in favour of this settlement; the steady rise of hostility to the Archpriest and to the influence of the regular clergy; and the equally undeviating progress of the sentiment in favour of English bishops.

Although the sentiment in favour of bishops was stronger in 1608 than at any time during the previous years, it had never been wholly lost sight of, and some efforts had been constantly made to procure their appointment. On May 16, 1606, Champney and Cecil, two of the Appellants' envoys on the ill-fated mission of 1602, once more set out for Rome to plead for the appointment of bishops. There they met the suave but crafty Parsons, who, as usual, by one means and another, succeeded in preventing them from reaching the Pope, and even went so far as to open and suppress some letters written in favour of the project by Lord Montague, although the missives were directed to the Pope himself. The commission which the two priests carried, signed by seventy seculars, availed them nothing, though it had more than double the number of signatures that had been affixed in 1602. In the following summer, the seculars sent a memorial to the Pope. Again in the summer of 1608, finding the clergy strongly in favour of the project, Birkhead contemplated sending an envoy to Rome, but allowed Parsons to dissuade him, to the great disgust of many of the Catholics. “God give us all patience," wrote Lord Montague, “and the spirit of wisdom and fortitude, whereby, like zealous champions of our catholic commonwealth, to defend ourselves against father Persons, Mr. Fitzherbert, and their adhering oppressors. Thus it is; Mr. Fitzherbert hath most resolutely written to Mr. Wilson (i.e. Birkhead) a mandatum from his holiness that no procurators shall come to Rome, with other

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1 Tierney, V, 10. The opinions in slurring the character of the seculars their books seem to have been debated is in the game volume, no. 73. at some length. The petition of Har 2 Tierney, V, 16, note; xxvii, xxviii. rison, procurator for the Archpriest, 3 It is curious that the Appeal of presented to Bellarmine, May 18, 1602 should have been signed by 30 1606, is in Stonvhurst MSS. Anglia priests; that of 1606, by 70; and that A, III, no. 60; the famous informa of 1610-1611, by 140. tion which he delivered to the Pope * Additional MSS. 30662, f. 72 b.


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