From: St. Dominic and His Work, by Pierre Mandonnet, O.P.,
        Translated by Sister Mary Benedicta Larkin, O.P., B. Herder Book Co., St. Louis/London, 1948.

The Plight of Preaching in the Twelfth Century

by Reginald Ladner,O.P.


THE preacher by right of office is the bishop. This he was in the time of the apostles and still is today. In the twelfth century such was likewise the case; except a few heretics, no one contested this prerogative. Moreover, the heretics directed their objections less against the right than against its exclusiveness.

Preaching is the most important of the official duties of the successors of the apostles. The bishop should have no other concern. His whole life should be given to the study of the holy books, prayer, and the preaching of the gospel.(1) Study, further, has value and purpose only in reference to the end it serves, preaching.(2) Ecclesiastical prescriptions, even the ceremonial of consecration, recommend this duty to the bishop in express and decisive terms. With all his strength and with all his zeal he must devote himself to preaching.(3) If the ordinand does not wish to bind himself to this obligation by oath and to discharge this duty, he must be refused the anointing.(4)

That laymen in the twelfth century had a high regard for and a correct understanding of the episcopal office is shown by an episode of the time. The time was the autumn of the year 1160. Paris was to have a new shepherd. The electoral chapter was considering two candidates, similar in birth, virtue, and knowledge. Both seemed equally fitted for the weighty responsibilities of the bishopric of Paris. Unable to agree on a candidate, the electors sought counsel from King Louis VII. "Choose," he said, "the one who has the most zeal for souls, the best preacher." Maurice de Sully, accordingly, was chosen instead of Peter Comestor, the other candidate. During his episcopate he justified the hopes placed in him.(5)

The bishop shared the task of preaching and teaching with the other prelates and ordinaries, that is, with abbots and superiors and, as Peter Cantor rightly adds, with country pastors.(6) All had the same duties toward their subjects as the bishops, since they had been entrusted with the care of souls.(7)

The bishop usually preached in his cathedral. An ancient tradition required the bishops to explain the gospel every Sunday and feast day.(8) Zealous pastors were still observing this tradition in the twelfth century as the record of homilies left by them shows.(9) Most of the bishops, however, limited their preaching to what was imposed on them by the diocesan statutes.(10) In cloisters and religious houses preaching was fostered to a greater degree, and the collections of sermons that have come down to us are largely the product of this practice.(11)

For a long time there had been good regulations for preaching in the country parishes; (12) but many of these regulations had fallen into desuetude. Regular preaching on Sunday, a practice that was already observed in certain places and at certain times, was not imposed as an obligation on every parish priest until the Council of Trent.(13) Toward the end of the twelfth century, provincial councils merely reminded priests to have the people recite the Our Father, the Apostles' Creed, and the Hail Mary, and to explain these prayers to them.(14)


No one but those just indicated had a right to preach. The pastor was forbidden, for example, to permit any priests who were not qualified and who did not possess a formal authorization from the bishop to preach in his church or even within the limits of his parish.(15) Under pain of grave penalties, the faithful were likewise forbidden to listen to such preachers. The priests were to remind them frequently of this prohibition.(16)

The regular authorization of the preacher was strictly adhered to. It was accepted as a criterion of orthodoxy. Whoever preached without deputation or authorization was immediately classed as a heretic.(17)


"During the entire Middle Ages," wrote Bourgain, "the pulpit never exerted a greater influence than in the twelfth century."(18) This amazing assertion is unsound and superficial. If among the great preachers of the twelfth century only a St. Bernard, a St. Norbert, and others of like caliber were counted, there might indeed be some warrant for the conclusion. But can we conclude on the evidence of a few exceptions that preaching answered the needs of an age and supplied all its demands? In face of the incredible progress made by heresies of all kinds everywhere, and in view of a bourgeoisie disposed and inclined toward innovations in the domain of religion, we may rightly wonder whether the clergy fulfilled, or were even able to fulfill, their work of direction and education.

Readings and sermons of the period have aroused the same conjecture. Written and delivered within the cloister, the sermons could have been of little value for the instruction and edification of the faithful. At least it is difficult to imagine how refined subtleties and prolix allegories could make an impression on uncultured minds.(19) Only a very limited number of the secular clergy gave their attention to the composition of sermons.(20) The majority of the bishops were too absorbed in other occupations to have the time for such work. They had their sermons written by others or were content to repeat a patristic homily.(21) Cases are known of exemplary bishops who found nothing blameworthy in this practice and even hesitated to compose their own sermons.(22) There might have been some hope of profit from these sermons if those who delivered them had taken the trouble to translate the Latin model into the vernacular. But frequently they did not and the words were not understood by the listeners.(23) Yet, a preacher had only to show that he understood the needs of the Christian people in order to be received with genuine gratitude. The extraordinary success of Foulques de Neuilly, and of some others, is proof of this fact.


Very little preaching was done, in the opinion of contemporary writers. Minds of clear vision, conscious of their responsibilities, never tired of calling attention to this failure.(24) Souls were hungering for the word of God, but there was no one to speak it to them.(25) The cry of Bernard calling for able shepherds echoed throughout the whole century. "Give me at least a few learned and exemplary shepherds!(26) No longer are there any but 'dumb dogs.'"(27)

Alain of Lille put his finger on the cause of this pessima taciturnitas, as Peter Cantor called it.(28) How could they preach? It would be only to pronounce their own condemnation. They could no longer take the risk for fear of pointing to their own turpitude.(29)

A more glance at the acts of some three hundred councils of the twelfth century shows that this statement is not an exaggeration. All imaginable vices are listed, certainly not for the pleasure of enumerating them. Anyone will readily comprehend why, in such a situation, the ministerium praedicationis suffered and was bound to suffer.

In the Third Lateran Council (1179) the reform of the clergy was one Of the principal questions for discussion.(30) Prelates' love of pomp and their luxurious robes had become proverbial. Strict and minute prescriptions were directed against this abuse. Many bishops preferred hunting to the visitation of their dioceses. Others found time for a visitation in the midst of their numerous cares as feudal lords, but it was with such display that the poor pastors were obliged to meet the expense by alienating some of the goods of the Church.(31) Rapacity, avarice, and immorality seem to have been the chief vices. At times they were carried even to the point of cynicism. According to a contemporary, Bishop Raoul of Liege (1168-91) one day had some benefices sold at auction; as intermediary in the transaction he used a butcher who sold these benefices with his meat.(32) This is but one example among many others which may be cited and which the chroniclers relate in detail.(33) Further, there remained for the prelates no means other than simony for the maintenance of their extravagant way of life. Simony persisted as a most stubborn evil against which all the councils contended, apparently without effect. This circumstance explains the fact, at first surprising, that few of these councils enacted statutes on the subject of preaching.(34) The councils had to attend to more urgent affairs and to effect basic reforms before there could be any thought about a reorganization of the pastoral ministry. It was well understood that a preacher who did not live according to his teaching could but aggravate the evil.(35) The heretics knew how to profit by this condition. One of their most effective arguments was based on the contradiction between the example and the teaching of the churchmen.(36) It is significant that our Lord's admonition occurs so frequently in contemporary literature: "All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not. For they say, and do not."(37)


If the scandalous conduct of so many prelates was a dangerous stumbling block for the people, their example was still more directly harmful when it was accompanied with an incertitude in the matter of doctrine. The faithful indeed were being neglected on all sides. Neither the teaching nor the example of their spiritual superiors could bring them support or encouragement.

We are not speaking here of those prelates, especially numerous in southern France, who abetted heresy.(38) We are speaking rather of those prelates, much more numerous, who lacked the knowledge necessary to fulfill their duty toward their subordinates. The maxim, oportet praelatum esse doctorem, continually repeated in one form or another, indicates that in this domain there was much to be desired.(39) If, at a time when requirements for the instruction of clerics were very moderate, bishops had to be deposed for crass ignorance, the import of the fact can be appreciated.(40)

Innocent III counted lack of knowledge among the deficiencies which could and should lead to the resignation of a bishop.(41) We cannot estimate how often this charge recurs in the numerous depositions that this Pope pronounced.(42) He always expressed himself with reserve and tact in the bulls which refer to this question. But the expression, propter impedimentum cordis, which was used rather often, may well be a paraphrase signifying that the prelate in question was not able to fulfill his office as teacher of the faithful. This meaning is frequently evident in the light of the context and of circumstances known in other ways.(43)

Moreover, a number of these prelates, forced into the clerical state for purely selfish motives, showed little eagerness to assume the burden of the duties of their state. Few of them could merit the tribute paid to Sylvester de la Guerche, bishop of Rennes, by a contemporary. He was a warrior, rough and unlettered, and was not even a cleric. But he had concern for his diocese and for the salvation of the souls of the faithful. He sought the services of able and zealous priests who could provide for his people what he himself was not able to give.(44) According to earlier decrees, the bishops could provide a substitute preacher when they were hindered by sickness or absence.(45) But they could not plead ignorance as an excuse from preaching. The Fourth Lateran Council had declared that in the future ignorance would not be tolerated.(46) But, since it was necessary to provide for the support of these helpers, many prelates preferred the more economical solution of letting preaching lapse entirely.(47)


As heresy continued its steady progress in southern France, Innocent III judged at first that he could oppose it effectively with the help of the bishops. He appealed to the clerical forces to redouble their efforts and their zeal.(48) But soon he realized that the prelates themselves were largely responsible for the lamentable situation and the inroads of error.(49) In a letter to his legates, he complained of the deplorable state of the Church in many places through the fault of these pastors.(50) Instead of doing their duty, instead of mounting guard and sending a call to arms against the forces of darkness, they showed their inability and negligence, and stood blind and dumb in the face of danger, absorbed in their profane ventures.

Unfortunately conditions were still more intolerable among the lower clergy. These conditions affected a greater number of individuals and appeared in a coarser form than did the same vices and weaknesses in the prelates.(51) Certain parishes were abandoned to wretched, illiterate, and uncultured creatures,(52) sometimes because better persons could not be found, but more often because these parishes preferred the services of those who would accept the lowest salary. Thus they got what they paid for.(53)

It would be unfair not to acknowledge and recognize the activity and success of certain good and admirable prelates. The way they tried to remedy the situation will be considered later. In normal times, perhaps the efforts of such men would have compensated for the inadequacy and subversive influence of the others. But the exceptional circumstances demanded exceptional measures and created needs which could not be met by a great part of the clergy.


While the pastors lawfully appointed by the Church were concerned with their own interests, and while cowardly hirelings abandoned their flocks and left them to die of hunger,(54) others who were not appointed advanced to take their place. Since those who alone possessed the right to preach did not exercise the right, others would, but in an altogether different fashion.(55)

The numerous heresies, under various names, which were taking root again and springing up almost everywhere, especially in northern Italy and in southern France, showed common traits. But what particularly impressed their contemporaries was the ardor of the heretics in spreading their message.(56)

The most dangerous of these, the Cathari, whose teaching was essentially heretical,(57) displayed amazing zeal for preaching. Those who had received the consolamentum consecrated themselves to the work immediately. They labored unceasingly, openly, and secretly, to win others by their discourses. They had an uncommon knowledge of the New Testament and used its maxims skillfully in favor of their theses. According to the occasions and the circumstances, they gave a positive explanation of their doctrine of dualism or they violently attacked the Catholic Church, reproaching her with the scandalous lives of many of her prelates. Their doctrinal activity was accompanied and very effectively supported by a life of poverty in imitation of the apostles. Wherever they went, this example made a profound impression. Their clothing was of the plainest, their diet frugal, their fasts strict and frequent. They traveled on foot as our Lord and the apostles did, and preached through city and country. Ordinary folk could not help comparing this edifying example with that displayed in their prelates' life of luxury. Nor was it difficult to guess what turn their sympathy would take, for ordinary people will not stop for protracted investigation; they are quickly carried away by what they see. All flocked round the new preachers, who were evidently living what they taught.


We cannot overlook the success of the Waldenses,(58) which was the more deplorable since they had at first begun to work within the bosom of the Church with a pure faith and a right intention to renew Christian life. Soon, however, they were separated from her. They were different from the Cathari since their activities were promoted by utterly illiterate men, and by example rather than by any subtle form of teaching. For zeal in spreading their ideas, however, no one could outstrip them. No sooner did Waldo attract to the ranks of his followers a person desirous of imitating Christ and the apostles in perfect poverty than he sent the new disciple, even though a woman, to preach in the neighboring villages. On the streets and in the public squares his followers would address everyone they met. They read and explained the Bible in the vulgar tongue. When their preaching and their activity took a disturbing turn, the Bishop of Lyons forbade them to preach. This prohibition was imprudent, and if we bear in mind certain promises of the Pope, even an injustice. They replied in the word of the Scriptures: "We ought to obey God rather than men."(59) They felt that the bishops should have been satisfied that some preaching was being done.(60) Thus they turned their back on the Church and went their own way. Their influence and popularity increased, and they showed themselves more and more determined and bold in their views and ventures. Lastly, they shook off all ecclesiastical control and declared that only those who were living in real imitation of the apostles, in perfect poverty, had the right to preach. Whoever, whether man or woman, fulfilled this condition had, in virtue of his baptism, a mission to teach and preach everywhere.(61) Like the Cathari, therefore, the Waldenses were champions of preaching by laymen.


The heretics were not the only ones interested in this problem. Certain orthodox groups also advocated preaching by laymen. Monks had to some extent taken sides in the contest.(62)The term "layman," as understood at the time, was used in contrast to "scholar" and "Cleric."(63) As opposed to "scholar," the word "layman" signified the great mass of the common people; as opposed to "cleric," it included monks who bad not received holy orders.

In the beginning there were few priest-monks in the cloisters. But from the end of the eleventh century, influenced by a new ideal which included apostolic labor, the character of the lay order changed. The number of monks who were ordained to the priesthood continued to increase. But from the ranks of the secular clergy and even in the cloisters voices were heard tending to exclude the monk from exercising any kind of pastoral activity, especially that of preaching.(64) Dead to the world, the monk should not return to it, even under the cover of the apostolate.(65) The formula of St. Jerome: "The duty of the monk is not to teach, but to weep," as well as the saying of a Sovereign Pontiff, "Whatever a monk's knowledge, he should not presume to preach," was often heard.(66)


An attempt was made to prove that Jerome meant by the word "monk" the solitary or the religious who did not have holy orders.(67) Thus it was necessary to distinguish between the duty of fraternal exhortation, incumbent on every man of sufficient intelligence, and the right of public preaching, the prerogative belonging only to bishops, abbots, and priests in their cloister or their church.(68) The latter class alone were in possession of the indispensable mission; they had received it with their ordination.(69) Thus the priest-monks who had received the complete priesthood and not what might be called semi-priesthood had full power to preach. Their case was not to be distinguished from that of the canons regular, whose rights they would share fully. With lay brothers, however, it was different.(70)

There were those, however, who tried to save preaching even for the lay monks. Their argument put the emphasis rather on the mission, not considering ordination.(71) Thus they explained the fact that in all ages there had been lay preachers and monastic preachers who had not received major orders.(72) Such a mission evidently would be unusual or, if the result of a supernatural call, confirmed by signs and miracles.(73) Such preachers would be expected to have at least a minimum of culture, know Holy Scripture, give obedience to the Church, and lead an apostolic and perfect life.(74) Nevertheless, even with all these conditions fulfilled, the preaching of lay monks was in practice out of the ordinary and could be considered only an exception.(75)

While the preaching of these lay monks was relatively easy to control and scarcely in danger of gaining greater extension, since it was the custom to call the ablest among them to the priesthood, the preaching of laymen could much more easily elude the vigilance of the bishops; it became increasingly more difficult, therefore, to check their deviations. At this period, collectors of alms constituted a real public calamity.(76) Armed with authentic or, more often, with bogus relies, certain laymen or clerics of questionable standing, whose ordination it was difficult to attest, passed through cities and villages, carrying off charitable offerings made to the profit of churches and hospitals which might or might not exist. At the sound of a bell the people were called to the church or to the public square, and cunning words enticed alms from them in honor of some saint or in favor of some enterprise.(77) If the solicitor were a priest or pretended to be one, it was customary for him to close the collection by celebrating Mass on the reliquary.(78) The almost unbelievable ignorance of some of these preachers and their evil conduct provoked great scandals among the people.(79) To put an end to this abuse, a whole series of councils directed severe canons against it.(80) In the interest of charity, the bishops were not opposed to the act of begging in itself; but, as far as possible, it was to be carried on only by canons, chaplains, or other priests of good repute.(81) In the future, moreover, every mendicant was to carry a letter from his bishop inscribed with his name as the rightful holder of it. Further, his right to preach during his rounds had to be attested by a special document;(82) otherwise he could only present his request, after which the cleric of the place would do the preaching.(83) The latter sometimes had to be responsible for forwarding the collection to its destination, probably because often these mendicants begged on their own initiative and for their personal profit.


In addition to the quaestuarii, for whom preaching was only a means of money-making, there was another group that carried on the work of lay preaching. Their motives, too, were not disinterested. These men made a business of preaching and rented out their services, turning over to their manager a certain part of the money they received.(84) Some of them were shrewd business men. In fact, organizations were formed which, for a stipulated sum, contracted for the entire preaching of a parish, indeed even of an ecclesiastical province notably in France and in Normandy.(85) Bishops and priests who made use of this system must have thought that the commission thus given would exempt them from all other responsibility in the matter and that it would be enough for them to supplement or to correct the lack of knowledge or of virtue in their hired agents. The councils threatened with the most severe penalties those easy-going and negligent pastors who relieved themselves so conveniently of their most important duty.(86)

Hence we should not be surprised that the majority of the prelates were opposed to lay preaching. Perhaps they hoped to redeem their own neglect in the matter of preaching the word of God by showing greater zeal in condemning lay meddling. At least, they could not be taxed with negligence in fulfilling this easy duty. Among the laymen who engaged in preaching, there were always some who were suspect; they were called pseudo-praedicatores.(87)

At certain times, indeed, the Church showed herself more lenient than at others. But her very concessions she regarded as merely temporary and provisional. Any other view would have contradicted the very existence of the hierarchy willed by God. Experience always taught that, sooner or later, preaching by laymen led to heresy or to some other aberration.


In times of religious ferment, people have a special need of enlightenment. The necessity was quite pronounced in that age when, in certain large circles, a reaction against wealth and avarice in the Church aroused an enthusiasm for an ideal of primitive Christianity, a poor and apostolic life. Was not the movement to all outward appearances good? The intentions of these reformers were upright, no doubt, but the means they employed led into dangerous paths. The conditions called for solicitude about explaining the Gospel to these reformers and about ensuring their sound training. But this task was declined by a clergy engrossed in worldly interests, particularly in regions like southern France where, from the middle of the twelfth century, the practice and the office of preaching had been slipping into the hands of laymen. The magnitude of the terrible danger menacing the Church was first understood perhaps by Innocent III. With sure insight, he gauged the strength of the remarkable forces confronting him and adopted a policy that would not simply check this popular movement but would direct it into the proper channels. By the same stroke he launched a revolution that has nothing comparable in the history of the pastoral ministry, especially in that of preaching.

As the thirteenth century opened, such was the plight of Christian preaching. The description just given, merely sketching it, is limited to general traits drawn principally from the statutes of the ecumenical or provincial councils, and the allegations and complaints of contemporary ecclesiastical writers. Details that might be added from chronicles would not notably affect the tone of the general sketch. A more extended investigation would enlarge the picture by reports of statistical findings and by special attention to conditions in various regions and districts. As to the latter, a few notations have sufficed for our purpose. The crisis in preaching, was particularly severe in France and Italy, chiefly in Languedoc and Lombardy, in western Germany, and in Flanders; in those regions where civilization was most advanced, the situation was the gravest.

One last detail of a more general nature must be added to the picture as a final touch: the problem was extremely serious in the cities. The early thirteenth century saw the close of an evolution from the feudal to the communal regime.(88) Economic, social, and political life, which until then had revolved within the orbit of the lord's château, now found its axis in the towns, which grew in importance daily and expanded round the artisan and trade in a mighty upswing. The towns became centers of prosperity and culture, and tended little by little to free themselves from a condition of dependence as well as from the influence of their former masters, ecclesiastical or civil.(89)

But the Church all the while stood rooted in the old order and in the feudal regime. Many of the communes were not the seat of a bishopric, and the few cities that had a bishop did not always have in him a preacher. The spiritual or pastoral life radiating from the monasteries of monks or even of canons did not, as a general rule, touch the cities, for the monasteries stood in isolated places. No one, so to speak, concerned himself about the souls in the rising towns; or, to be more exact, the clergy in such places were not ready to meet the people on the level of their new needs; neither in number nor in education had they kept pace with the progress of the communes.(90) Nor did the bishops understand the import of all the upheavals then occurring and reaching consummation under their very eyes. The mobile life of a people engaged in commerce and the pursuits of artisans created unprecedented problems in the ministry of souls and urgently demanded a solution.(91) Indispensable agents were lacking, and even the most elementary approach seemed closed. With a great number of bishops the effect of the situation must have been overwhelming.


1 "Let the bishop take upon himself no business cares and let his time be given only to reading, prayer, and the preaching of the word of God" (Decretum Gratiani, c. 6, Dist. LXXXVIII). "The work of the: pontiff is twofold: to learn of God by reading and meditating often on Holy Scripture; to teach the people" (c. 3, Dist. XXXVI).

2 "Therefore let priests know Holy Scripture and the canons that all their work may consist of preaching and teaching" (Decretum Gratiani, c. 1, Dist. XXXVIII).

3 Lecoy, La chaire française au moyen âge, p. 20.

4 "But if he shall have determined otherwise, and thus shall not gladly pledge himself so to do and to teach, let him by no means be consecrated" (Decretum Gratiani, c. 6, Dist. XXXVIII).

5 Bourbon, no. 485; cf. Lecoy, p. 45.

6 Preaching is "the duty of prelates" (in this term the rural priest is also included). PL, CCV, 172.

7 "But the task of preaching or of public teaching is incumbent only on those to whom it is assigned, that is, bishops and priests in their churches and abbots in their monasteries, to whom the care of souls has been committed" (Martène, Thesaurus novus anecdotorum, V, 1622).

8 Martigny, Dictionnaire des antiquités chrétiennes, pp. 660 ff.; Hauck, Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, IV, 43.

9 For example, Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris (d. 1196): Expositio evangeliorum sive sermones de singulis dominicis diebus et de festivitatibus per totum anni circulum. Cf. Lecoy, p. 520.

10 Cf. the following councils: Rouen (1214), can. 7, Mansi, XXII, 918; Paris (1213), can. 3, Mansi, XXII, 840; Mainz (1233), can. 19, Hefele-Leclereq, V, 1548. The Council of Paris, assigned by Mansi to 1212, occurred at the earliest in 1213. Cf. Arch. d'hist. doctr., et litt., IX ( 1934), 90 ff.

11 For example, the sermons of Adam Scotus (d. 1192), PL, CXCVIII; most of the sermons of St. Bernard (d. 1153), PL, CLXXXIII.

12 For the prescriptions under the Carolingians, cf. the account in Albert, Die Geschichte der Predict in Deutschland bis Luther, II, 49 ff.; Council of Aachen (836), Hefele-Leclercq, IV, 94 f.

13 Council of Trent, Sess. V, chap. 2; Mansi, XXXIII, 30 f.

14 "Let the priests always exhort the people to say the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Hail Mary" (Odonis Episcopi Parisiensis Synodicae Constitutiones; Mansi, XXII, 681; cf. Mansi, XXII, 683, 735). The Our Father, the Apostles' Creed, and the Hail Mary formed the outline for religious instruction in the Middle Ages until the Council of Trent.

15 "Let no one be permitted to preach unless he is either a qualified person or one sent by the bishop or archbishop." Odonis Ep. Paris. Synod. Constitutiones (Mansi, XXII, 681). "Let him not be admitted unless our letters give his name and expressly state that we have given him license to preach" (Mansi, XXII, 729); cf. St. Bernard, ad Tolosanos (PL, CLXXXII, 437).

16 "Priests are strictly forbidden to permit them to preach . . . even outside the church and let the priests warn their parishioners on Sundays that they may not listen to such preachers under pain of excommunication." Odonis Ep. Paris. Synod. Constitutiones (Mansi, XXII, 683).

17 Cf. Lucius III (1184), Decretum contra haereticos (Mansi, XXII, 477).

18 Bourgain, La chaire française au XIIe siècle, p. 370.

19 "Almost all the extant sermons of the twelfth century show a learned, studied character, savoring of the cloister and the school. Usually they were written for clerics and monks" (Lecoy, p. 11).

20 Of the preachers at the close of the twelfth century, who have left evidence of their work, a fifth belonged to the secular clergy.

21 Bartholomew of Vendôme (d. 1206), archbishop of Tours, had his sermons composed by Stephen of Tournal. PL, CCXI, 342; cf. Warichez, Étienne de Tournai et son temps, p. 81. Adam Scotus, O. Praem. (d. 1192), recounts the reproaches of malcontents against a preacher satisfied to reproduce the work of another: "Do not Augustine, Gregory, and other doctors say these same things? Pilfering words here and there in the books of the doctors, he committed them to memory and recited them to us for a sermon, as if we ourselves could not just as well see those very things that he himself saw and collected." To which, by way of reply: "As if we should know how to say or ought to say anything that our learned and holy predecessors have not said or left in their books for our instruction" (PL, CXCVIIL 184). Cf. Albert, Die Geschichte des Predigt, II, 179.

22 "I heard that Pope Innocent.... a man of vast learning, preaching once on the feast of the Magdalen, had someone near holding the homily of Gregory for that feast, and he read word for word in the vernacular what was there written in Latin, asking the one who held the book about the sequence when he could not remember it. After the sermon when be was asked why he had done so, since be himself was equal to saying many other things, he answered that he had done this for the correction and instruction of those who disdained the words of others" (Humbert, De vita regulari, II, 397).

23 "That bishops should strive to preach the sermons and homilies of the holy Fathers in the language of the people, so that all will understand them" (from the Council of Reims). Ivo of Chartres (d. 1117); PL, CLXI, 385. "Since the people understand nothing at all of what is said unless it is spoken in the vulgar tongue" (Adam Scotus; PL, CXCVIII, 184; cf. Bourgain, p. 195).

24 "And today those to whom the word of God has been committed are silent on what is good, dumb dogs, unable, nay unwilling to bark." Peter de Blois (d. 1200); PL, CCVII, 1108. "Woe to us wretches! Many of us are ramblers, few of us preachers." Hugh of St. Victor (d. 1141); PL, CLXXVII, 974. Cf. Peter Cantor, (d. 1197), Contra negligentiam praelatorum, PL, CCV, 176 ff.; Alain of Lille (d. 1202), Quod praelatorum tantum debeat esse praedicatio, PL, CCX, 182 ff.

25 "Because of this I shall send a famine upon the land, not a famine of bread, nor yet of water, but of hearing the word of God. Because the little ones have asked for bread, and there was none to break it unto them" (cf. Lain. 4:4). Peter Cantor, PL, CCV, 178. "For there is hunger in the land, and the little ones seek bread, but scarcely one can be found to break it for them." Innocent III; PL, CCXV, 274.

26 "Who will give me men, learned and holy men, to be pastors in the churches of God, if not in all, at least in many, at all events in some?" (PL, CLXXXII, 450.)

27 Cf. Isa. 56: 10. "His watchmen all blind . . . dumb dogs, not able to bark, bide the talent committed to them in the napkin like the unprofitable servant, since the word of the Lord has been bound in their mouth" (Innocent III; PL, CCXIV, 904).

28 PL, CCV, 189.

29 Bourgain, p. 280.

30 Cf. Mansi XXII, 219, 273; Schroeder, Councils, pp. 216 f.

31 Mansi, XXII, 219, 273, 820, 940 f.

32 Histoire littéraire de la France, 1869, XIV, 402.

33 For example, Vitry, pp. 270 ff., 290 ff, Cf. Schmierer, L'Église et la civilisation au moyen âge, II, 633 ff.; Pierron, pp. 99-106.

34 Only at the outset of the thirteenth century did synods and councils begin to give more attention to preaching. Cf. Mansi, XXII, 681, 683, 730, 735, 785, 840 917. But previous to that time remonstrances were not wanting; cf. Hauck IV, 42 f.

35 "His life, moreover, is despised, and as a result his preaching is contemned" (Peter Cantor; PL, CCV, 172; cf. Alain of Lille; PL, CCX, 182).

36 Bourbon, no. 251. "The heretics everywhere publicly dogmatize and seduce the unwary whom they attract to themselves, so much the more easily as they perniciously draw arguments against the Church from the life of the Archbishop himself and other prelates, and accuse the whole Church for the crimes of a few." Innocent III; PL, CCXV, 355.

37 Matt. 23:3. Cf. Alger of Liége (d. 1132), De misericordia et justitia (in Martène, Anecdota, V, 1044); Foncaude (d. 1192), PL, CCIV, 807; Peter de Blois (d. 1200), PL, CCVII, 1159.

38 Guiraud, L'Inquisition, pp. 336 ff.; cf. Innocent III, PL, CCXV, 357.

39 Cf. Peter Cantor; PL, CCV, 172. "The bishop ought, moreover, to be a doctor." Dictum Gratiani, ad Dist. LXXXVI. "It is not enough for a prelate to be a man of good life and upright character unless he also have the knowledge of doctrine." Ibid., C. 2, Dist. XXXVI. "O vile ignorance, abominable stupidity, which imposes silence on a prelate, renders our dog, that is, our pastor, mute" (Alain of Lille: PL, CCX, 184). Cf. especially Vitry, pp. 270 ff. Cf. the corresponding prescriptions of the councils; e.g., Third Lateran Council (1179), can. 3; Hefele-Leclereq, V, 1089; Schroeder, Councils, pp. 216 f.

40 Thus Honorius III found that he was obliged to depose the Bishop of Carinola who because of his great ignorance had stirred up the indignation of the clergy and the people, C. 15, X, de aetate et qualitate et ordine praeficiendorum, 1, 14). "What he should know who is to be ordained bishop: It should be asked . . . if he has to give extempore sermons, whether he has a ready knowledge of . . . the sacred canons and the holy Gospel as well as the book of the Holy Apostle, and all Sacred Scripture, and whether he lives according, to the commandments of God and is disposed to teach the people entrusted to his care" (C. 6, Dist. XXXVIII). "Let no one presume to advance the illiterate . . . to the clerical order" (C. 1, Dist. XXXVI). " Nevertheless, moderate knowledge is sufficient" (loc. cit., glossa).

41 "These are the causes on account of which a bishop may ask leave to resign his pastoral office: consciousness of crime, weakness of body, defect of learning, Malevolence of the people, deformity of person" (PL, CCXV, 802).

42 The biographer of Innocent III tells us: "He dispatched prudent visitators through various provinces, through whom he made diligent inquiry about the condition and life not only of the churches but also of the prelates; and those whom he found guilty he at once removed from their prelacy. . . . Who can say how many prelates he deposed?" (There follows, "to name a few out of many," a list of more than twenty bishops.) PL, CCXIV, 172.

43 PL, CCXIV, 374, 458.

44 Though unlearned, he zealously gathered about him those who were educated. Spiritual discipline flourished in him, so that divine knowledge poured forth resplendently upon him what flesh and blood had not communicated. Thus he found company in his own way with the learned, if there were any such" (Baudry, Vita B. Roberti; PL, CLXII, 1048). Cf. Walter, Die ersten Wanderprediger Frankreichs, pp. 100 f.

45 Council of Mainz (813), can. 25; Hefele-Leclercq, III, 1141. Valence (855), Oan. 16; op. cit. IV, 208. Avignon (1209); Mansi, XXII, 785.

46 "It often happens that bishops, on account of their manifold duties or bodily infirmities, or because of hostile invasions or other reasons, to say nothing of lack of learning, which must be absolutely condemned in them and is not to be tolerated in the future, are themselves unable to minister the word of God to the people . . ." (can. 10; Hefele-Leclerq, V, 1340; Schroeder, Councils, pp. 251 f.).

47 "When they (preachers) are in need, let them be supplied with the necessities. lest for want of these they may be compelled to abandon their work at the very beginning" (can. 10; Hefele-Leclerq, loc. cit.; Schroeder, loc. cit. Cf. Innocent III; PL, CCXV, 274).

48 PL, CCXIV, 71, 82.

49 "Therefore grieving with holy sadness as much over the failure of the Church as over the loss of souls, believed to have fallen into the snare of damnation through the negligence of their shepherd, and desiring to apply a salutary remedy . . ." (Innocent III, PL, CCXIV, 458. Cf. PL, CCXV, 273, 884). Cf. Council of Avignon ( 1209), can. 1; Mansi, XXII, 785.

50 PL, CCXIV, 903.

51 Ibid., CCXV, 273, 355, 358.

52 Cf. Mansi, XXII, 224, 540, 582 ff.

53 Innocent III (epist., III, 24; PL, CCXIV, 905). Raoul Ardent mentions priests who did not even know how to read (PL, CLV, 2035). Council of Oxford (1222), can. 23: "Archdeacons in their visitations will take care . . . that priests know how to say correctly at least the words of the Canon" (Mansi, XXII, 1169). Cf. Fourth Lateran Council (1215), can. 27, 30; Hefele-Leclereq, V, 1356-58; c. 32: "For we have learned as a fact that in certain localities parish priests do not obtain for sustenance more than a quarter of a quarter, that is, one sixteenth of the tithes. Whence it happens that in those places a priest is hardly ever found who has an ordinary knowledge of letters" (ibid., V, 1359 Q. "Since many parochial. churches, because of the poverty of the priests, are lacking in due service, we decree that ... it is important that the priest should be so competently provided for that he may be able to celebrate fittingly the divine mysteries" (Council of Paris [1213]; Mansi, XXII, 846).

54 "The pastor has turned into a hireling . . . when, feeding not his people but himself . . ." (Innocent III; PL, CCXV, 359).

55 "Since the dogs of the flock of the Lord do not bark, the (heretics) themselves bark, not that they may ward off the attacks of the wolf, but rather that they may cause the flock to stray away" (Innocent III; PL, CCXV, 819).

56 Alain of Lille thus begins his treatise De fide catholica contra haereticos: "These are called Waldenses from the name of the heresiarch, Waldo, who, led by his own spirit, not having been sent by God, founded a new sect, so that without the authority of a prelate, without divine inspiration, without knowledge, without learning, he presumed to preach" (PL, CCX, 377). Cf. Foncaude, Adversus Waldensium sectam," chaps. 4, 5, 8; PL, CCIV, 793 f.; Mansi, XXII, 477.

57 Guiraud, L'Inquisition, pp. 143 ff.

58 Ibid., pp. 235 ff.

59 Foncaude, Adversus Waldensium sectam, PL, CCIV, 817.

60 "The apostle rejoices, whatever way Christ is preached, whether through the wicked or through the good, with a right intention or a wrong one. Why then, should not the bishops also rejoice when Christ is preached by us? But they contradict us" (ibid., PL; CCIV, 807).

61 Guiraud, L'Inquisition, p. 238.

62 Endres, Honorius augustodunensis, pp. 147ff.; Rupert, Altercatio monachi et clerici (PL, CLXX 537ff.); Epistola ad Everardum (PL, CLXX, 541 ff.).

63 Marténe, Thesaurus novus anecdotorum, V 1648.

64 "Concerning the monk of Preuilly called Peter the Hermit, it is commanded that he be at once recalled from preaching among the Albigenses, nor should he or any other dare to usurp the office of preaching without license from the general chapter. But if anyone shall have presumed to usurp it, let him be regarded as a fugitive." Canivez, Statuta Cap. Gen. O.C., Vol. I (1212), Louvain, 1933; Vita apostolica, PL, CLXX, 611.

65 "While you profess to be a monk, you confess that you are dead. For he is not a monk who is not dead to the world; moreover, how is he dead whose voice is heard abroad?" Rupert, Alterc.; PL, CLXX, 537. "That the brethren may not leave their solitude for preaching" (Etienne de Muret, Regula, chap. 48; PL, CCIV, 1155).

66 Eusebius Hieronymus, Liber contra Vigilantium; PL, XXIII, 351. Rupert, Alterc.; PL, CLXX, 538. Rupert, Epist.; PL, CLXX, 543. St. Bernard, Sermo 64 in Cantic.; PL, CLXXXIII, 1085. Martène, Anecd. V, Dialogus, 1618.

67 "He used this name 'monk' according to the etymology of the word, for a solitary." Martène, Anecd. V, Dialogus, 1621. "For he said this about a monk who is "a monk only and not also a cleric or priest" (Rupert, Epist.; PL, CLXX, 543).

68 "Every man with an intellect, that talent which the wicked servant buried in the soil, if he is not a solitary, if he lives with men, has a duty of teaching, because he owes it to his brother when he sees him wandering from the truth or the path of morals to recall him by showing him the right way. . . . But they do not have the office of teaching publicly unless they are sent. That office belongs to the bishop, to priests in their churches, and to abbots in their monasteries, for to them the care of souls has been confided" (Martène, Anecd. V, Dialogus, 1621 f.).

69 "The apostles 'send' archbishops; the archbishops, bishops; the bishops, priests; that is, when they ordain them" (Rupert, Alterc.; PL, CLXX, 542.)

70 "If, then, this (to baptize, to preach, etc.) is not permitted to monks who are ordained, they are, therefore, called not pleni presbyteri, but semipresbyteri" (Vita apostolica; PL, CLXX, 637). ". . . the bishops send priests, evidently when they ordain them. From this mission, however, the monk is exempt, since he has not taken on the duties of sacred orders" (Rupert, Alterc.; PL, CLXX, 542).

71 Alain of Lille, Contra haereticos (PL, CCX, 379); Foncaude (PL, CCIV, 815 f.).

72 Foncaude (PL, CCIV, 809 ff.).

73 Ibid., 816.

74 Ibid.

75 "And from all this it is absolutely certain that they who have not sacred orders must not be readily heard among the people of God" (ibid.).

76 Cf Mansi, XXII, 846, 901- 681, 683, 729, 735, 821, 1123.

77 Preachers should not be permitted . . . to ring bells in the village nor to speak in churches, nor to display relics; but they may recommend their business, and the priests may speak for them." Odonis Episc. Parisiens. Synod. Constitutiones (1212), can. 9; Mansi, XXII, 681. A prescription of the Council of Paris (1213?) gives a warning against unknown priests: "We strictly forbid that unknown priests whose ordination is not established should be admitted for the divine celebration" (can. 9); Mansi XXII, 821.

78 Mansi XXII, 681, 735, 846.

79 Cf. Mansi, XXII 683.

80 Odonis Episcopi Parisiensis Synodicae Constitutiones (can. 9, 41; Mansi, XXII, 681, 683). Council of Paris (1213?) (can. 8, Mansi, XXII, 821, 846). Council of Rouen (1214) (can. 9; Mansi, XXII, 901). Constitutiones Richardi Episc. Sarum. (1217) (can. 50; Mansi, XXII, 1123). Cf. Mansi, XXII, 729, 735.

81 No quaestuarius or conductitius may be admitted to preach in behalf of any hospital or any other house, on account of the great scandals caused by pseudo-preachers of this type; nevertheless, faithful canonical messengers or chaplains of a cathedral church of approved testimony, or good parish priests, with the authority of the archbishop or bishop of the place, or of those whose responsibility it is, may be permitted to collect alms in behalf of hospitals for the use of the poor and other works of piety, or for the repair of churches; but not such a one as will celebrate Mass over his coffers and folding tables in contempt of the Sacrament of the Lord" (Council of Paris [1213?], can. 9, Mansi, XXII, 846).

82 "We forbid that any preacher be allowed to seek alms of the faithful without letters signed by us containing his name and explicitly stating that we give him license to preach. He may be permitted to present the case and the need for which he has come, even if he does not have license to preach, on condition that he be provided with letters from us, as we have said. We require, moreover, that the priests of the church in which the appeal is made receive the money collected and keep it safe under the custody of two worthy men until, conformable to our command, it be delivered to that place for which it was collected and gathered." Constitutiones Richardi Episcopi Sarum. (1217), can. 50 (Mansi, XXII, 1123).

83 Mansi, XXII, 735.

84 "Conductitius praedicator"; cf. Du Cange, II, 523; Mansi, XXII, 821, 901; St. Bernard, sermon 66 (PL, CLXXXIII, 1101).

85 "We also strictly charge that no one may be a 'hired' preacher, nor may the office of preaching be entrusted to such, nor may he be allowed to preach. . . . Nor may the preaching in any province or parish be given over to him or to others as to a firm. Transgressors of this constitution ought to be punished by a penalty of the kind mentioned above." Council of Rouen (1214), can. 9; Mansi, XXII, 901. Council of Paris (1213?), can. 8; Mansi, XXII, 821. Cf. Histoire littéraire de la France, XVI, 165. In Languedoc the act was addressed to the heretical organizations: "A good many prelates do not fear to commit their churches to the promoters of the heretics." Innocent III (May 27, 1204); PL, CCXV, 357.

86 Council of Rouen (1214), can. 9 (Mansi, XXII, 901).

87 Mansi, XXII, 846. "What is the penalty for a false preacher? To know this, we must know who may be called a false preacher. And you ought to know that any layman, even a religious, is considered false because the office of preaching is forbidden to them all. . . . Laymen ought to hear and to obey the clergy, not teach or command."

88 Schnuerer, L'Église et la civilisation au moyen âge, II, 641 ff.

89 Michel, Geschichte des deutschen Volkes, 1897, I, 136 ff. Hefele, Die Bettelorden und das religiöse Volksleben Ober-und Mittelitaliens im 13. Jahrhundert, p. 7.

90 Hauck, IV, 22 ff.; 30 ff.

91 Greven, Die Anfänge der Beginen, p. 205.