Monday, October 31, 2011

Popular Dissatisfaction that the Church had so much Wealth, ca. 1480.

As found in A Source Book for Mediaeval History: Selected Documents Illustrating the History of Europe in the Middle Ages, by Oliver J Thatcher, Ph.D. and Edgar H. McNeal, Ph.D., pg 336 (1905).

177. Popular Dissatisfaction that the Church had so much Wealth, ca. 1480.

Goldast's Reichssatsung, p. 280.

We give a brief passage from an unknown author to illustrate the growing dissatisfaction of the common people that the church had so much wealth. It betrays a dangerous temper of mind. In the light of this the suppression of monasteries and the seizure of ecclesiastical property which was carried out on so large a scale in the sixteenth century does not seem strange.

It is as clear as day that by means of smooth and crafty words the clergy have deprived us of our rightful possessions. For they blinded the eyes of our forefathers, and persuaded them to buy the kingdom of heaven with their lands and possessions. If you priests give the poor and the chosen children of God their paternal inheritance, which before God you owe them, God will perhaps grant you such grace that you will know yourselves. But so long as you spend your money on your dear harlots and profligates, instead of upon the children of God, you may be sure that God will reward you according to your merits. For you have angered and overburdened all the people of the empire. The time is coming when your possessions will be seized and divided as if they were the possessions of an enemy. As you have oppressed the people, they will rise up against you so that you will not know where to find a place to stay.

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