Saturday, February 16, 2013

Today's research snippet. The Pope admonishes Henry II

The translation of a letter from Pope Alexander III to Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London concerning the rift between Henry II and Thomas Becket. The date is 1165 and it's interesting to see the political speak macchinations. Carrot and stick basically.

"We do not believe you are ignorant of the fact that the King of England has of late fallen off a good deal in his accustomed devotion to the church. He has forbidden appeals and visitations to Rome; he has entered into relations with schismattcs and ex communicates and made alliances with them; he has banished from his realm our venerable brother, Thomas Archbishop of Canterbury. By these acts he appears as a persecutor and oppressor of the church. Therefore we beseech, admonish and command you in company with our venerable brother, Robert Bishop of Hereford, to warn the King earnestly and to induce him by diligent exhortation to abandon his present course, to desist wholly from these evil practices and to make fitting satisfaction for his misdeeds and shortcomings. Admonish him to love his Creator with singleness of heart, to respect his mother, the holy Roman church, as he was wont to do, and to put no obstacle in the path of those desirous of visiting her; not to hinder in any way appeals made to her; to recall and reinstate our said brother the Archbishop, in his see; to stand fast in his reverence towards the blessed Peter and ourself;to apply himself to works of mercy and piety; no longer to oppress, as he is said to do, or permit others to oppress the churches and the persons of the clergy, whether of his kingdom or of his other dominions; but to love, maintain and keep them under his royal protection, that He, by whom king's reign, may preserve for him his earthly kingdom and bestow upon him an eternal kingdom hereafter.
Furthermore we ourself, in consideration of his great devotion and many services shown to us in our times of need, still love him with abundant charity as a most excellent prince and noble King, and still labour with fervent zeal for the exultation and increase of his glory although he himself seems to believe the contrary. Nevertheless you should recall to his mind that, unless he speedily repents of his evil 
deeds, God will be sorely angry with him and will visit both him and his partisans with a terrible vengeance, and we ourself will no longer bear patiently with him. These considerations we put before you not for our own good but for his welfare and salvation, which, like a most Christian King, he has before now rendered to us, bearing always in mind is that we cherish His glory and greatness and yearn with full affection for his safety and that of his kingdom... "

Today's research photo:  A medieval book bench.  I'll have to get the DH to make me one of these! 

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