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Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 150. CARDINAL CAMPEIUS' MISSION


Mention was made a little before of the ministers of Strasburg, who, because of their marriage, were in trouble, and cited by the bishop to appear before him, and there to be judged, without the precinct of the city of Strasburg; whereas there had been a contrary order taken before between the bishop and the city, that the bishop should execute no judgment upon any, but under some of the magistrates of the said city of Strasburg. Whereupon the senate and the citizens, taking into their hands the cause of these married ministers, in defence of their own right and liberties, wrote, as is said, to their bishop of Strasburg, and caused the judgment thereof a while to be stayed; by reason whereof the matter was brought at length before Cardinal Campeius,legate, sent by Pope Clement to the assembly of Nuremberg, A.D. 1524.

The chief doer in this matter was one Thomas Murner, a Franciscan friar, who had commenced a grievous complaint against the senate and city of Strasburg, before the aforesaid Cardinal Campeius. Wherefore the senate, to purge themselves, sent their ambassadors, thus clearing their cause, and answering to their accusation, that they neither had been nor would be any let to the bishop, but had signified to him before, by their letters, that whatsoever he could lay against those married priests, consonant to the law of God, they would be no stay, but rather a furtherance unto him to proceed in his action. But the senate herein was not a little grieved that the bishop, contrary to the order and compact which was taken between him and them, did call the said ministers out of the liberties of their city; for so it was between them agreed, that no ecclesiastical person should be adjudged but under some judge of their own city. But now, contrary to their said agreement, the bishop called those ministers out of their liberties; and so the ministers, claiming the right and privilege of the city, were condemned, their cause being neither heard nor known. And now if the senate should show themselves any thing more sharp or rigorous unto those ministers, claiming the right of the city, the people, no doubt, would not take it well, but haply would rise up in some commotion against them in the quarrel and defence of their franchises and liberties.

And where it is objected, that they receive priests and men of the clergy into the freedom and protection of their city: to this they answered, that they did nothing herein, but that which was correspondent to the ancient usage and manner of the city before; and moreover, that it was the bishop's own request and desire made unto them so to do.

To this the cardinal again, advising well the letters of the bishop, and the whole order of the matter which was sent unto him, declared, that he right well understood by the letters sent, that the ministers indeed (as the ambassadors said) were called out from the freedom and liberties of the city, and yet no order of law was broken therein; forasmuch as the bishop (said he) had there no less power and authority, than if he were his own vicar delegate; and therefore he desired them, that they would assist the bishop in punishing the aforesaid ministers, &c.

After much other talk and reasoning on both parts, wherein the ambassadors argued in defence of their freedom, that the judgment should not be transferred out of the city: among other communication, they inferred moreover, and declared, how in the city of Strasburg were many, yea, the most part of the clergy, who lived viciously and wickedly with their women, whom they kept in their houses, to the great offence of the people, shame to Christ's church, and pernicious example of others; and yet the bishop would never once stir to see any punishing or correction thereof. Wherefore, if the senate (said the ambassadors) should permit the bishop to extend his cruelty and extremity against these married ministers, for not observing the bishop of Rome's law, and leave the other notorious offenders, who break the law of God, to escape unpunished, doubtless it would redound to their great danger and peril, not only before God, but also among the commons of their city, ready to rise upon them.

To this Campeius answered, What composition or bargain was betwixt the bishop and them, he knew not, but surely the act of the one was manifest, and needed no great trial in law of proving and confessing; and therefore they were sequestered and abandoned from the communion of the church, ipso facto. As for the other sort of them, who keep women, although, said he, it be not well done, yet doth it not excuse the enormity of their marriage. Neither was he ignorant, but that it was the manner of the bishops of Germany, for money, to wink at priests' lemans; and the same also was evil done indeed. And further, that the time should come when they shall be called to an account for the same; but yet, nevertheless, it is not sufferable that priests therefore should have wives. And if comparison should be made, said he, much greater offence it were, a priest to have a wife, than to have and keep at home many paramours. His reason was this; For they that keep them, said he, as it is naughty which they do, so do they acknowledge their sin: the others persuade themselves that they do well, and so continue still without repentance, or conscience of their fact. All men, said he, cannot be chaste, as John the Baptist was; yet can it not be proved by any example, to be lawful for priests, professing chastity, to leave their single life, and to marry: no, not the Greeks themselves, who in rites be differing from us, do give this liberty to their own priests to marry: wherefore he prayed them to give their aid to the bishop in this behalf.

Whereunto the ambassadors replied again, saying, that if he would first punish the one class of offenders, then might the senate assist him the better in correcting the other; but the cardinal was still instant upon them, that first they should assist their bishop, and then if the bishop would not punish the other crime, he would come thither himself and see it punished accordingly.

This Cardinal Campeius, how he was sent by Pope Clement the Sixth, to the second assembly or diet of Nuremberg, A.D. 1524, and what was there done by the said cardinal, is before signified. After this council of Nuremberg, immediately followed another sitting at Ratisbon, where were present Ferdinand, Campeius, the cardinal of Saltsburg, the two dukes of Bavaria, the bishops of Trent and Ratisbon; also the legates of the bishops, Bamberg, Spires, Strasburg, Augsburg, Constance, Basil, Friburg, Passau, and Brixen. By whom in the said assembly it was thus concluded:


Summary of popish decrees made at the council of Ratisbon.

That forasmuch as the emperor, at the request of Pope Leo, had condemned, by his public edict set forth at Worms, the doctrine of Luther for erroneous and wicked; and also it was agreed upon in both the assemblies at Nuremberg, that the said edict should be obeyed by all men; they likewise, at the request of Cardinal Campeius, do will and command the aforesaid edict to be observed through all their confines and precincts: that the gospel, and all other Holy Scriptures, should be taught in churches according to the interpretation of the ancient forefathers: that all they who revive any old heresies before condemned, or teach any new thing contumelious, either against Christ, his blessed mother, and holy saints, or which may breed any occasion of sedition, are to be punished according to the tenor of the edict aforesaid: That none be admitted to preach without the licence of his ordinary: That they who be already admitted, shall be examined how and what they preach: That the laws which Campeius is about to set forth for reformation of manners, shall be observed: That in the sacraments, in the mass, and all other things, there shall be no innovation, but all things to stand as in fore-time they did: That all they who approach to the Lord's supper without confession and absolution, or do eat flesh on days forbidden, or who do run out of their order; also priests, deacons, and sub-deacons, that be married, shall be punished: That nothing shall be printed without consent of the magistrate: That no book of Luther or of any Lutheran shall be printed or sold: That they of their jurisdiction, who study in the university of Wittenberg, shall every one repair home within three months after the publishing hereof, or else turn to some other place free from the infection of Luther, under pain of confiscating all their goods, and losing their inheritance: That no benefice, nor other office of teaching, be given to any student of that university. Item, That certain inquisitors, fit for the same, be appointed to inquire and examine the premises. Item, Lest it may be said that this faction of Luther taketh its origin from the corrupt life of priests, the said Campeius, with other his assistants in the said convocation of Ratisbon, chargeth and commandeth, that priests live honestly, go in decent apparel, play not the merchants, haunt not the taverns, be not covetous, nor take money for their ministration; such as keep concubines to be removed; the number also of holy days to be diminished,

These things would Campeius have enacted in a full council, and with the consents of all the empire: but when he could not bring that to pass, by reason that the minds of divers were gone from the pope, he was fain to get the same ratified in this particular conventicle, with the assents of these bishops above rehearsed.


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