Project Canterbury

A Roman Diary
And Other Documents relating to the Papal Inquiry into English Ordinations

By T.A. Lacey

New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1910.

VI. Julius III and Paul IV.

IN the spring of the year 1895, Dom Gasquet discovered in the Register of Paul IV a Bull, unknown to all previous writers on our subject, dealing with the powers delegated to Cardinal Pole for the reconciliation of the English Church to the Holy See. This Bull Praeclara carissimi, and an explanatory Brief Regimini universalis, were put forward as (i) declaring the English Ordinal to be an invalid rite, and (2) being founded on a "full and minute" description of that Ordinal, furnished by Pole himself.

On the former head I wrote the following Notes, which were circulated at the Church Congress held at Norwich in that year. The substance of them was afterwards incorporated into the Supplementum de Hierarchia Anglicana, printed at Rome. [See Diary, April 10th, 12th, and 22nd.]


A good deal has been said about certain documents recently discovered by Dom Gasquet in the Vatican archives, which are put forward as containing a papal reprobation of Anglican Orders. They are a Bull of Paul IV, dated June 20, 1555, and a Brief, dated October 30, in the same year. Briefly and doubtfully referred to in the Civiltà Cattolica of last June, they have since been reproduced elsewhere. What do they contain?

The Bull, we find, is a papal confirmation of the general dispensation given by Card. Pole on the reconciliation of the kingdom (printed in de Hierarchia Anglicana, App. vii.), in which the Legate confirmed a number of things done since the rupture with Rome, and formally undertook to receive in their several grades all who had been ordained, licet nulliter et de facto, under conditions imposed by the Royal Supremacy (praetensa auctoritate supremitatis Ecclesiae Anglicanae). In confirming this dispensation the Pope inserted a somewhat obvious safeguard to the effect that none should be so received who had not been ordained by a properly constituted Bishop. "Ita tamen ut qui ad ordines tam sacros quam non sacros ab alio quam episcopo et archiepiscopo rite et recte ordinato promoti fuerunt eosdem ordines ab eorum ordinario de novo suscipere teneantur nee interim in eisdem ordinibus ministrent."

[I apparently had not then noticed the interesting word concernentia in this Bull. In the extant text of Pole's General Dispensation, incorporated in the Act I and 2 Phil, and Mar. cap. 8 (Gibson, p. 41), the Legate promises to receive "in suis ordinibus" all persons who had obtained "aliquas impetrationes dispensationes concessiones gratias et indulta tam ordines quam beneficia ecclesiastica, seu alias spirituales materias, praetensa auctoritate supremitatis Ecclesiae Anglicanae, licet nulliter et de facto obtinuerint." But in the Bull Praeclara the corresponding passage runs thus: "quae [personae] diversas impetrationes dispensationes gratias et indulta tam ordines quam beneficia ecclesiastica seu alias spirituales materias concernentia praetensa auctoritate supremitatis Ecclesiae Anglicanae nulliter et de facto obtinuerant."

[Thus the Bull, reciting the terms of the Dispensation, adds the word concernentia, which rectifies both the grammar and the sense. The word had evidently slipped out of the copy of the Dispensation engrossed in the Act of Parliament. But there is a further complication. An embassy was sent from England seeking confirmation of Pole's acts (infra, p. 176). There is in the Archives of the Vatican a Summarium of their petition (cited by Brandi, Roma e Canterbury, p. 56, under ref. Arch, Vat. Arm. LXIV, tom. 28, fol. 199), according to which they desired the Holy See to confirm "dispensationes cum ecclesiasticis personis secularibus et diversorum ordinum, ut promoveantur tam in ordinibus quam beneficiis obtentis nulliter sub scismate." Then is added the note: "Obtulit Rmus Legatus se daturum aliis similem dispensationem." This seems to indicate that the copy of the General Dispensation brought to Rome by the embassy contained the puzzling and defective passage that appears in the English Statute. On examination, the mistake was presumably set right, and the passage as recited in the Bull Praeclara carissimi was corrected to its proper sense and wording by the addition of the word concernentia.

[But the passage is cited by Leo XIII, in the fifth paragraph of his Bull Apostolicae Curae, without that crucial word. "Neque praetermittendus est," says the Pope, "locus ex eisdem Pontificis litteris, omnino rei congruens, ubi cum aliis beneficio dispensationis egentibus numerantur qui tam ordines quam beneficia ecclesiastica milliter et de facto obtinuerant." Moreover, an argument is drawn from it which depends on the inaccuracy. Paul IV did not speak of Orders which had been obtained nulliter, but of faculties and dispensations concerning Orders, which were regarded as null and void because obtained schismatically. There is not merely a verbal error in the citation; the passage is used argumentatively in a sense which it cannot bear.

[This extraordinary mistake was commented on as soon as the Bull Apostolicae curae appeared, and the criticism called forth some replies. Father Brandi's treatment of it is a curiosity of controversy. In his commentary on the Bull, La Condanna delle Ordinazioni Anglicane (p. 27), he endeavoured, by means of the above mentioned Summarium, to justify the sense of the impugned quotation, and on the strength of that interpretation indignantly rebuked those who pointed out the inaccuracy of its wording: A little below (p. 32), he quoted the text of Pole's Dispensation, with the note: "Nel testo della lettera riferita dal Gibson non si legge qui la parola concernentia, quella medesima parola che . . . un Anglicano ha accusato Leone XIII di aver omessa della sua Bolla." But Leo XIII was not quoting from Pole's Dispensation; he was quoting from Praeclara carissimi, which does contain the word concernentia. The English Archbishops might well say in their Responsio: "Papam ... ex exemplari minus perfecto litteras Praeclara carissimi citare et ex eo disputare." By way of comment on this rather obscure hint, Father Brandi mockingly asked whether the Archbishops had in their possession a "better text" than that which the Pope had used, suggesting its publication (Roma e Canterbury, p. 9). The "better text" is the authentic text published by Dom Gasquet in 1895.]

This clause has been claimed as excluding all ordained according to the Anglican rite. It is impossible to imagine on what grounds it is so interpreted. Nothing whatever is said about the rite used in the supposed ordinations. The only defect alluded to is the defect of power on the part of the Bishop or other person ordaining. Nor is any ground for this defect specified. Neither does the Pope assert that any such persons actually existed. He lays down a general principle, which is a mere truism of theology.

It was, however, expressed in rather unguarded language. Any who might have been ordained ab alio quam episcopo rite et recte ordinato were to be rejected. But the phrase rite et recte is a very sweeping one. In the strict sense, no Bishop is rite et recte ordinatus who has not been promoted according to the detailed requirements of the Canon Law. But according to the Roman Canon Law, not a single Bishop promoted since the rupture with Rome had been rite et recte ordinatus; they were consecrated minus rite. On this account the language of the Bull seems to have engendered grave doubts and fears in England. What Bishops were rite et recte ordinati?

The object of the Brief which followed was to allay these doubts. "Cum sicut nobis nuper innotuit a pluribus haesitetur qui episcopi et archiepiscopi schismate in ipso regno vigente rite et recte ordinati dici possint," etc. The Brief has no other purpose, and it must be interpreted accordingly. The Pope defines, "Eos tantum episcopos et archiepiscopos, qui non in forma ecclesiae ordinati et consecrati fuerunt, rite et recte ordinatos dici non posse." All Bishops consecrated in forma ecclesiae are to be taken as genuine Bishops. Again the Pope does not in any way state, or even imply, that there actually were any Bishops who fell short of this requirement. He is merely defining the phrase used in the Bull. Neither does he in any way define what is the forma ecclesiae. Yet this passage again, so purely general in its application, has been alleged as a further and more explicit repudiation of the Orders conferred by the Anglican rite.

But we have not yet done with the Brief. We must not stretch the direct purport and effect of such a document beyond its immediate scope, but we may inquire what is contained in it by necessary implication: and this, even if it be a mere obiter dictum, will have its own weight. Now the Pope, in order to make his meaning perfectly clear, adds to his definition of a genuine Bishop a formal decree that all clerks whatsoever ordained by such genuine Bishops, having received at their ordination the character of Order, and having been admitted by dispensation to the execution of their Orders, should be so received without question. Any who were not ordained by a genuine Bishop, he says, must be re-ordained; "Alios vero quibus ordines huiusmodi etiam collati fuerunt ab episcopis et archiepiscopis in forma ecclesiae ordinatis et consecratis . . . characterem ordinum eis collatorum recepisse, executione ipsorum ordinum caruisse, et propterea tarn nostram quam praefati Reginaldi Cardinalis et Legati dispensationem eis concessam eos ad executionem ordinum huiusmodi . . . plene habilitasse, sicque ab omnibus censeri et per quoscunque quavis auctoritate fungentes iudicari debere, ac si secus super his a quoquam quavis auctoritate scienter vel ignoranter contigerit attentari irritum et inane decernimus."

There is no exception. All ordained by a genuine Bishop are to be received. There is no question of the rite used in their ordination. That is assumed to be sufficient. But many of the Bishops who were reconciled by Pole, and who were therefore unquestionably genuine Bishops, had for three years been ordaining priests and deacons according to the Anglican rite. These all, having been ordained by genuine Bishops, are according to the terms of the Brief to be received. Therefore by necessary implication the Pope approves, or at least tolerates, the Anglican rite of ordination. [So Gasparri concluded, as regards the ordination of deacons and priests only. He held that the Pope rejected the bishops consecrated by the new rite. (De la Valeur des Ordinations Anglicanes, p. 15, and Revue Anglo-Romaine, Vol. I, p. 488). In the course of a long correspondence that appeared in the Tablet during the latter part of the year 1895, the Rev. J. B. Scannell maintained, with characteristic erudition, that the Pope purposely, and with true Roman: caution, left the question undecided. These letters seem to have led to his appointment to the Commission of inquiry in the following year.]


When writing the above Notes, I had no means of testing the statements made about the description of the Ordinal which Pole was said to have laid before Paul IV. The discovery of this document also stands to the credit of Dom Gasquet. He, or others working on his materials, came to the conclusion that it was forwarded to Rome by the hands of the ambassadors, Sir Edward Came, Lord Montagu, and Thirlby, Bishop of Ely, who negotiated the confirmation of Pole's General Dispensation in the year 1555. It was inferred that Julius III commissioned Pole as Legate upon imperfect information, that Pole was doubtful about the extent of his powers for dealing with men ordained by the rites of the new Ordinal, that he consulted the Holy See accordingly, and that the newly elected Paul IV resolved his doubts after a careful study of the rites in question. When I was in Rome I had an opportunity of examining the document, with the valuable aid of Mr. Bliss, and from the indications of its date I drew a different conclusion. The result was digested into the following note, which appeared in the Guardian of June 10th, 1896, the substance of it being also included in the Supplementum:--


Some months ago a writer in the Tablet spoke of a "full and minute" description of the Anglican rites of ordination existing in the archives at the Vatican. He supposed this to have been sent to Rome with the embassy of 1555, and drew the conclusion that Paul IV had it before him when writing the much-discussed Bull, Praeclara carissimi, and in consequence ruled out the Anglican ordinations as invalid. I do not propose to return to the vexed question of the interpretation of that Bull, but I think the readers of the Guardian may be glad to have placed before them the text of the description with a few remarks by way of introduction.

The description is contained in a miscellaneous collection of papers, bound in a volume labelled Nunziatura in Inghilterra 3, all of which, with the possible exception of a copy of the will of Henry VIII in Italian, belong to the period of Pole's Legation. It is interesting on two accounts: first, on account of its contents, or rather of what is omitted; secondly, because of certain indications of its date.

It is obvious that the writer who spoke of it as "full and minute" had not seen it. The substance only of the rite is avowedly given, all subsidiary matters being omitted. This expression must be interpreted with some liberality, since the oaths are given in full. Pole was obviously interested in these. [It is noteworthy that the Venetian ambassador in England, Daniele Barbara, wrote in 1550 of the new rites of ordination with a similar insistence on the oath: "Nor do they differ from those of the Roman Catholic religion, save that in England they take oath to renounce the doctrine and authority of the Pope." (Venetian State Papers, Vol. V, p. 349.)] It is not altogether surprising that he thought it unnecessary to include the prayers, since in his time the essence of the rite was undoubtedly supposed to lie in the imperative formula; but we seldom come across so definite a relegation of the prayers to an insignificant position. There is another omission of greater moment. Pole speaks of the first and second Ordinal as being substantially the same. Yet the Porrection of the Instruments, retained in the former book, was struck out of the latter. Pole ignores this change. It is difficult, therefore, to suppose that he regarded this ceremony as the essential matter of ordination.

The suggestion that this description was sent to Rome in 1555 will not, I think, bear investigation. There are two copies, written in different hands, both Italian, on fine Italian paper. One bears as a watermark the Piccolomini arms. The other has a watermark which I will describe, as some one may be able to identify it. Within a circle is a goose, a Lombardic G within the circle, and a D of the same character above it. Neither paper has been folded or shows any signs of having been sent as a despatch. The second copy, page 104, deserves close attention. It is written on a gathering of two folio sheets. The description begins on the first recto, and concludes on the second recto. On the verso of this begins another document in the same hand. This is an Italian version of the proclamation put out in the name of Jane Grey, "Proclama della Regina Janna, figla del Duca di Suffolch." At the bottom of the page the catch-word is written, but there is no more. The remaining four pages of the paper are blank. The proclamation was probably continued on other sheets made up into the same gathering, which are lost.

How comes this document here? The next paper in the volume is another copy of this same Italian translation of the proclamation, written in an Italian hand on coarse paper, which has been folded and sealed, and much soiled in transmission. From the fragments of the seal I cannot make out the device. This was obviously sent from Pole, and a fair copy was made for use in Rome. Since the Description of the Ordinations was copied at the same time, it is an irresistible conclusion that this also was sent by Pole in the same set of despatches. When was it sent?

A copy of Jane's proclamation can hardly have been sent except during the early months of Mary's reign. The description of the ordinations was sent at the same time. [I followed without question the assumption that the Description was sent to Rome by Pole. But whence? In August, 1553, he was at Maguzzano; towards the end of September he moved to Trent; on October 19th he was at Dillingen; he reached Brussels in January; he then visited France, returning to Flanders; not until November, 1554, did he land in England. Let the following dates also be compared. On July 29th, 1553, a congregation was held at Rome on receipt of the news of Edward's death and Mary's accession; on August 5th Pole was appointed Legate; on August 15th he sent a letter to Mary by the hand of Henry Penning, who was joined by Commendone at Brussels. After visiting England Commendone hastened to Italy, leaving London on August 23rd, seeing Pole at Maguzzano on September 7th, and then going on to Rome. In consequence of his news, a Consistory of September 15th decided that Pole's Legation should be delayed. On October 1st Pole wrote to the Pope from Trent that he had received letters from Penning. On October 19th Penning joined him at Dillingen and was sent on to Rome with detailed instructions to give "a full account of the affairs of England." See the authorities in Dixon, Vol. IV, pp. 98-111, and add the instructions to Penning, Venetian State Papers, Vol. V, p. 428. It is evident that a vast amount of correspondence preceded Pole's request for the fuller powers that were given him by the Brief of March 8th, 1554. On further consideration it seems to me that the despatch described above must have reached Rome during the first weeks of Mary's reign, and not later than Commendone's return. There is nothing to show what was the source of the Description of the Ordinal. It may have been composed at Rome from a copy of the Book received there. The important point is that fair copies of the Description, probably for use in Consistory, were made at the same time as copies of Jane's Proclamation. This indicates that the Ordinal was under the notice of the Pope and Cardinals from the early autumn of 1553.] From this an important conclusion will follow. Pole had received his Legatine faculties by Bull from Julius III in August, 1553. These were found insufficient, because they enabled him to deal with such bishops and clergy only as had been ordained before the beginning of the schism. Accordingly, he asked for extended powers, which were given him by a Brief dated March 8th, 1554. This Brief contained a phrase which has much puzzled inquirers. The Pope authorizes Pole to exercise a dispensing and reconciling power in the case of persons who have been ordained "non servata forma ecclesiae consueta." It has often been conjectured that these words may contain an allusion to the Edwardine Ordinal. [So De Augustinis. See Diary, April 22nd.] The conjecture becomes a certainty when we find that Pole had already sent to the Pope a description of this Ordinal, or of what he considered the essential parts of it. At some time during the early months of Mary's reign, probably when he was actually demanding an extension of his faculties enabling him to deal with schismatical ordinations, Pole had sent to Rome a description of the Ordinal. The Pope replies by authorizing him to recognize orders which had been conferred otherwise than by the accustomed form of the Church. I can see only one possible conclusion. Julius III formally [This word is much too strong. I should have said "implicitly."] approved the English Ordinal in the form in which it was laid before him, as follows:--


Episcopos, Presbyteros, et Diaconos, quae cum prius alio in libro edita foret, nunc alicubi est reformata; cuius substantia hie solum ponitur, et omittuntur preces, psalmi, interrogationes, personarum probationes, et alia quae conveniunt.

Iusiurandum in Regis Primatum quod ordinem accepturi coram Praelato sedenti in Cathedra iurare debent antequam legatur Evangelium.

Ego N. ex hac die penitus renuntio reiicio, desero et relinquo Episcopum Romae et eius auctoritatem, potestatem, et iurisdictionem: et nunquam assentiar, aut cum aliquo conveniam, ut episcopus Romae usurpet, exerceat aut habeat aliquod genus auctoritatis, iurisdictionis et potestatis, intra hoc Regnum, aut aliam Regis nostri dictionem; sed huiusmodi rei obstabo omni tempore et omni conatu, et de hac die volens admitto, approbo, et suscipio Regiam Maiestatem solummodo esse supremum caput in terris ecclesiae Anglicanae; et omni consilio et conatu absque fallacia, fraude, aut alia minus debita ratione volo observare, custodire, asserere, et defendere omnem vim et sententiam omnium et singulorum actorum et statutorum factorum, et faciendorum intra hoc Regnum, ad abrogandum, eradicandum, et abolendum episcopum Romae, et eius auctoritatem, et omnium aliorum actorum et statutorum factorum aut faciendorum, ad confirmandam, et corroborandam Regis potestatem, ut supremi capitis in terris ecclesiae Anglicanae. Et haec praestabo contra omne genus hominum cuiuscumque status, dignitatis, gradus, aut conditionis sint; et nullo pacto faciam aut attentabo, nee pro viribus patiar fieri aut attentari, directe vel oblique, clanculum aut aperte, quicquam ad impedimentum, obstaculum, detrimentum, abrogationem eius quod dictum est, aut partis alicuius ex eo aliqua ratione, colore, aut praetextu. Quod si quod iusiurandum fiat aut factum Jam sit per me alicui homini ad favendum, conservandum, defendendum Episcopum Romae, aut eius auctoritatem, iurisdictionem et potestatem, illud ego reputo ut vanum et cassum, ita me Deus adiuvet per Iesum Christum.

Episcopus Diaconorum capitibus manum imponens singulis dicet:

Accipe auctoritatem exequendi officium Diaconi in ecclesia Dei tibi commissa, In nomine Patris et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, etc.

Postea dans unicuique illorum Novum Testamentum, dicet:

Accipe auctoritatem legendi Evangelium in Ecclesia Dei, et illud praedicandi, cum ad id rite missus fueris, etc.

Episcopus cum Presbyteris praesentibus imponet manus capitibus singulorum, qui genuflexi dignitatem presbyteri accipient, episcopo dicente:

Accipe Spiritum Sanctum; quorum peccata remittis, remissa sunt; quorum peccata retines, retenta sunt: et sis fidelis dispensator verbi Dei, et suorum sanctorum sacramentorum. In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, etc.

Deinde Episcopus singulis tradens Bibliam dicet:

Accipe auctoritatem praedicandi verbum Dei, et ministrandi sacra sacramenta in congregatione, ad quam eris vocatus.

Archiepiscopus petet Regis mandatum ad episcopum inaugurandum, et iusiurandum pro Regis primatu exigitur ut a Diacono et Presbytero; sed Episcopus insuper iurabit obedientiam Archiepiscopo his verbis:

In Nomine Domini, Amen. Ego N. Electus episcopus Ecclesiae N. profiteer et polliceor omnem debitam reverentiam, et obedientiam Archiepiscopo, et Metropolitanae ecclesiae N. et eius successoribus. Ita me Deus adiuvet per Iesum Christum.

Sed cum ordinabitur ipse Archiepiscopus, cum omnia alia fiant quemadmodum pro episcopo, hoc iusiurandum omittitur.

Archiepiscopi sedentis verba:

Frater, quoniam Sancta Scriptura, et veteres Canones iubent, ne cui cito manus imponamus aut admittamus ad gubernandam congregationem Christi, qui eam sibi redemit non minori pretio quam effusionis sanguinis sui, antequam te admittam ad hanc administrationem ad quam vocaris, ex te quaeram plerosque articulos, ut praesens congregatio habeat experimentum, et ferat testimonium, quo animo sis praeditus, ut te geras in Ecclesia Dei--sequuntur in libro interrogata, quae omittimus.

Archiepiscopus Episcopique praesentes manus imponunt capiti electi episcopi, Archiepiscopo dicente:

Accipe Spiritum Sanctum, et memineris ut excites gratiam Dei, quae est in te per manuum impositionem, non enim dedit nobis Deus spiritum timiditatis, sed potentiae, dilectionis, et sobrietatis.

Tune Archiepiscopus dabit illi Bibliam, dicens:

Attende lectioni, exhortationi, doctrinae, ac meditare quae in hoc libro scripta sunt, ut tuus profectus, qui inde erit, manifestus sit omnibus hominibus. Attende tibi ipsi et doctrinae: persiste in his, nam si id feceris te ipsum servabis, et eos qui te audierint. Sis gregis Christi Pastor, non lupus; pasce ilium, ne devores: sustine infirmos, sana aegrotos, colliga confractos, reduc eiectos, quaere perditos. Ita sis misericors, ut ne sis nimis; sic disciplinam exigas, ut non obliviscaris misericordiam: ut cum summus Pastor venerit, accipias incorruptibilem coronam gloriae per Iesum Christum Dominum Nostrum. Amen.

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