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in the exercise of which a ruler of the Church might exclude an unjust magistrate from all participation in the sacred ordinances; with this important addition however, that instead of swaying a purely ecclesiastical power, and punishing by the terrors of spiritual condemnation, the bishops of Charlemagne were authorized to call down on offenders all the weight of Imperial vengeance?
1“Eo anno  demoravit domnus Cæsar Carolus apud Aquis palatium quietus cum Francis sine hoste; sed recordatus misericordiæ suæ de pauperibus, qui in regno suo erant et justitias suas pleniter abere non poterant, noluit de infra palatio pauperiores vassos suos transmittere ad justitias faciendum propter munera, sed elegit in regno suo archiepiscopos et reliquos episcopos et abbates cum ducibus et comitibus, qui jam opus non abebant super innocentes munera accipere, et ipsos misit per universum regnum suum; ut ecclesiis viduis et orfanis et pauperibus et cuncto populo justitiam facerent. Et mense Octimbrio congregavit universalem synodum in jam nominato loco, et ibi fecit episcopos (episcopis ?] cum presbyteris seu diaconibus relegi universos canones, quos sanctus synodus recepit, et decreta pontificum, et pleniter jussit eos tradi coram omnibus episcopis presbyteris et diaconibus. Similiter in ipso synodo congregavit omnes abbates et monachos, qui ibi aderant et ipsi inter se conventum faciebant, et legerunt regulam sancti patris Benedicti, et eum tradiderunt sapientes in conspectu abbatum et monachorum; et tunc jussio ejus generaliter super omnes episcopos abbates presbyteros diacones seu universo clero facta est, ut unusquisque in loco suo juxta constitutionem sanctorum patrum, sive in episcopatibus seu in monasteriis aut per universas sanctas ecclesias, ut canonici juxta canones viverent, et quicquid in clero aut in populo de culpis aut de negligentiis apparuerit, juxta canonum auctoritatem emendassent; et quicquid in monasteriis seu in monachis contra regulam sancti Benedicti factum fuisset, hoc ipsud juxta ipsam regulam sancti
Something akin to this institution has already been observed among the Visigoths; and indeed it may in general be asserted that we have in the forms of government, whether civil or ecclesiastical, as carried into execution under Charlemagne, little else than the most fully developed and practical results of those old Germanic customs which we have witnessed in every part of the Western Empirel.
The history of the ensuing century, however, was destined to afford a melancholy example of a system of state policy, for a time so prolific of beneficial results, perverted at last in feeble hands, and conducing by its progressive degeneracy to the utter ruin of every civil and religious interest which it had been its former glory
Benedicti emendare fecissent” (Annales Laureshamenses ap. Pertz, i. 38, 39). See also the account of Charlemagne's clerical Missi Dominici “ad recti judicia determinanda” given by Frodoard in speaking of bishop Wulfar (Hist. Eccl. Rem. lib. ii. c. 18. ap. Guizot, Coll. des Mém. v. 189, 190; Couvenier, pp. 244, 245). “Vulfarius * * sicut et alii quidam sapientes et Deum timentes habebantur Abbates per omnem Galliam et Germaniam a præfato Imperatore delegati, quo diligenter inquirerent, qualiter Episcopi, Abbates, Comites, et Abbatissæ per singulos pagos agerent, qualem concordiam et amicitiam ad invicem tenerent, et ut bonos et idoneos Vicedomnos et Advocatos haberent, et undecunque necesse fuisset tam regias quam Ecclesiarum Dei justitias, viduarum quoque et orphanorum sed et ceterorum hominum, inquirerent et perficerent, et quodcunque emendandum esset emendare studerent in quantum melius potuissent, et quod emendare per se nequivissent in præsentiam Imperatoris adduci facerent, et de his omnibus eidem principi fideliter renunciare studerent."
See p. 196, note 1..
to protect. The last glance moreover, which at the close of our subject we cast on the clerical body in its relations to the state, shows to us only too clearly that the evils on which we have been compelled to look were but the harbingers of long ages of degradation, when the priesthood, perverted by the fatal temptations of ecclesiastical sway and the influence of a materialized religion, united itself ever more and more with the secular spirit, instead of imparting to an erring world the benefits of practical Christianity.
In conclusion, after following the progress of the clergy through so many ages and in so many shifting scenes, after witnessing its ultimate victory over the shocks of persecution, the seductions of a false philosophy, and the debasing intercourse with a barbarian world, we are irresistibly led to a more assured confidence in the high perfections of our divine faith. It is impossible not to be taught even by the most gloomy of the many troublous centuries which have passed before us, that no mere human failings, universal though they may be, can check the fulfilment of that mighty scheme by which the very imperfections of the means used are made to redound to the good of man and the glory of his Maker.
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