Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Complaints of the Germans against the Pope, 1510.

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., pgs 336-338 (1905).

178. Complaints of the Germans against the Pope, 1510.

Gebhardt, Gravamina gegen den Romischen Höf, pp. 83 f.

This is a brief list of the complaints made by the Germans in 1510 and presented to Julius II.  Most of them, it will be observed, are  concerned with the financial burdens with which the Germans felt that they were overwhelmed.
(1) That popes do not feel bound to observe the bulls, agreements, privileges, and letters which have been issued by their predecessors, but often dispense with, suspend, and revoke them at the request of people even of low birth. (2) That the pope sometimes refuses to confirm the canonical election of bishops. (3) That the pope sometimes rejects the election of praepositi [provosts], although made by chapters which have paid a high price for the right to elect.... (4) That the better benefices and higher offices are reserved for the cardinals and the chief officials of the papal court. (5) That an unlimited number of expectancies are granted, and many are given for the same office to different persons. And many expectancies are sold to one and the same person. From this practice, lawsuits arise daily, which cause all concerned to incur heavy expenses. For if a man buys an expectancy, he will probably never get the office, but he will surely become involved in a lawsuit about it which will cost him a great deal of money. On this account the proverbial saying has arisen: "If anyone obtains an expectancy from Rome, let him lay aside one or two hundred gold coins, for he will need them in his lawsuit about it." (6) Even when a bishopric is several times within a few years made vacant by death, the pope without any mercy demands the prompt and full payment of the annates. And sometimes when the pope creates new offices and enlarges his court, more is demanded as annates than is just.... (7) Churches are given to members of the papal court, some of whom are better fitted to be mule drivers than pastors. (8) Old indulgences are revoked and new ones sold, merely to raise money, although the laymen are thereby made to murmur against their clergy. (9) Tithes are collected under the pretext that a war is to be made against the Turks, but nothing of the kind is ever done.  (10) Cases which could easily be settled in Germany, since there are good and just judges there, are indiscriminately called before the papal court at Rome. St. Bernard, in writing to Eugene III, severely criticised this practice.

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