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A Manual Of Councils Of The Holy Catholic Church -Rev. Edward H. Landon. M.A.

VAISON (442). [Concilium Vasense.] Held November 13, 442, under the Bishop Auspicius. Nectarius, Bishop of Vienne, was present, and publicly maintained that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is but one Nature, one Power, one Divinity and Virtue. Ten canons were published.

1. Declares that it shall not be necessary to examine the Gallican bishops before receiving them to communion, but that it shall be enough to be assured that they are not excommunicated.

2. Declares that the offerings of penitents dying suddenly without receiving the communion, may nevertheless be received; and that mention is to be made of their names at the altars, and permits them burial.

3. Orders priests and deacons to receive the holy chrism at Easter from their own bishops.

6. Forbids all intimacy with the enemies of religion.

9 and 10. Are for the protection of the reputation of those who, out of charity, take charge of deserted children.—Tom. iii. Conc. p. 1456.

VAISON (529). Held November 5, 529. Twelve bishops attended, amongst whom were St Cesarius of Arles, who presided. Five canons were published.

1. Enjoins that parish priests shall receive into their houses young readers (being single), according to the excellent custom in Italy; that they shall provide for them, and teach them to chant the Psalms, and make them read and study the holy Scriptures.

2. Declares that a priest may preach in his own parish, but that when he is ill, the deacons shall read the Homilies of the fathers.

3. Orders the frequent repetition of the “Kyrie Eleison” at matins, mass, and vespers, and that the Sanctus be sung three times at mass even in Lent, and in masses for the dead.

4. Orders that mention be made of the pope at every mass.

5. Orders that the verse, “As it was in the beginning, &c.,” shall be chanted after the “Gloria Patri.”—Tom. iv. Conc. p. 1679.

VALENCE (in DAUPHINE) (374). [Concilium Valentinum.] Held July 12, 374. Thirty bishops attended, of whom the names of twenty-two have reached us: it is supposed to have been a general Gallican council, or at least collected from the chief part of Narbonnesian Gaul. The object of this council was to remedy the disorders which had crept into the discipline of the Church. Four canons were published.

1. Forbids the ordination in future of men who have been twice married, whether before or after baptism, or who have married widows, but it does not insist upon the deposition of those who had been already ordained.

2. Forbids to grant penance too easily to young women who, after consecrating themselves to God, voluntarily embraced the married state.

3. Forbids absolution until death to those who, after baptism, fall back into idolatry, or who have received a second baptism.

4. Orders that all bishops, priests, and deacons, falsely accusing themselves of any crimes in order to be deposed, and so escape the responsibility and weight of their orders, shall be, in fact, so deposed, and considered as guilty of the crimes wherewith they charge themselves.—Tom. ii. Conc. p. 904.

VALENCE (530). Held about 530, in defence of the doctrines of grace and free will, against the Semi-Pelagians. Cyprian, Bishop of Toulon, presided for St Cesarius of Arles, who was necessarily absent through ill-health. Some suspicion, it seems, had arisen about the soundness of the views of St Cesarius on the subject of grace. Through his legates he clearly demonstrated his belief that man, without the preventing grace of God, cannot obtain salvation.—(See C. ORANGE, A.D. 529.) Tom. iv. Conc. p. 1678.

VALENCE (855). Held January 8, 855, by order of the Emperor Lothaire; fourteen bishops, with the metropolitans, attended from the three provinces of Lyons, Vienne, and Aries. The object of the council was to investigate the conduct of the Bishop of Valence, who was accused of various crimes. Twenty-three canons were published.

The first six relate to the subjects of grace, free will, and predestination, and reject the four canons of Quiercy upon the matter.

7. Relates to the elections of bishops with the unanimous consent of the clergy and people of the see.

12. Forbids, under pain of excommunication, the singular combats to which accused persons had recourse in those times in order to prove their innocence. Directs that he who shall kill or wound his adversary, shall be treated as a murderer, and excommunicated; and that the man killed shall be regarded as a suicide, and forbidden Christian burial.

14. Enjoins bishops not to give their clergy or people cause to complain against them on account of their vexations.

15. Recommends them to lead an exemplary life.

16. Orders them to preach and instruct their people both in town and country.

17. Bids them be careful to make their visitations without burdening any one.

18. Orders the re-establishment of schools for teaching religion, literature, and ecclesiastical chanting.

20. Orders care in the preservation of the church ornaments, &c., and forbids their being put to any but their proper use.

22. Forbids bishops to exact their visitation dues when they do not make their visitations.—Tom. viii. Conc. p. 133.

VALENCE (1100). Held in 1100, to examine the charge brought by the canons of Autun against Norigaudus or Norgaud, Bishop of Autun, whom they accused of having got possession of the see by simony, and of having squandered the property belonging to it. The pope’s legates, John and Benedict, cited the bishop to appear at this council, in spite of the protest of the canons, who declared that the legates had no authority to take them beyond the province, and in spite of the opposition of the Archbishop of Lyons, who complained of the legates having taken the judgment of the case out of his hands. The question accordingly came before the council, and was discussed, but the further consideration of it was reserved for the Council of Poictiers. In the meantime the bishop was suspended from the exercise of all his functions.

Hugo, Abbot of Flavigni, accused likewise of simony, was declared to be innocent.—Tom. x. Conc. p. 717.

VALENCE (1248). Held on the Saturday after the feast of St Andrew. The legates, Peter, cardinal bishop of Albano, and Hugo, cardinal priest of St Sabine, convoked this council, consisting of four archbishops and fifteen bishops from the provinces of Narbonne, Vienne in Dauphine, Arles, and Aix. Twenty-three canons were published.

3. Forbids clerks in holy orders, cathedral canons, and other beneficed persons, to exercise any secular office.

6, 7, and 8. Enjoin the punishment and public denouncement of perjured persons.

9, 10, and 11. Relate to the inquisition.

12. Gives to bishops the correction of sorcerers and persons guilty of sacrilege, and in the event of their refusing to amend, enjoins perpetual imprisonment, or whatever punishment the bishops may deem right.

13. Enacts penalties against those who lay aside the cross, which they have assumed upon their dress as a token of having renounced their heresy, or who escape from prison, or despise the sentence of excommunication.

The five next refer to excommunications.

22 and 23. Fulminate excommunications against the Emperor Frederick and all his adherents.—Tom. ix. Conc. p. 696.

VALENTIA (in SPAIN) (524). [Concilium Valentinum.] Held in 524, under King Theodoric. Six bishops attended, and six canons were published.

1. Orders that previous to the presentation of the oblations, and the dismissal of the catechumens, the gospel shall be read after the epistle, in order that the catechumens, penitents, and even the heathen, may hear the words of Christ and the preaching of the bishop.

4. Exhorts bishops to visit their sick brethren in the episcopate, in order to assist them in settling their affairs, and to attend to their funerals. In case of a bishop dying suddenly with no one of his brother bishops near him, it is ordered that the body shall be kept until a bishop can come to celebrate his obsequies.

5. Excommunicates vagabond clerks who desert their calling.

6. Forbids to ordain a clerk belonging to another diocese, and any person whatever who will not promise to remain in the diocese.—Tom. iv. Conc. p. 1617.

VALLADOLID (1228). [Concilium apud Vallemoleti or Vallum Oletum.] By the legate Cardinal John de Abbatis-villa. Present all the bishops of Castile and Leon. Thirteen constitutions.

1. Orders Diocesan Synods twice a year, viz., on St Luke’s day, and on the Sunday on which is sung the de misericordia Domini.

2. Establishes preachers in cathedrals and conventual churches.

3. Orders that beneficed persons who are ignorant of Latin shall be compelled to learn (except the old), and no such persons shall in future be appointed to benefices.

4. Against concubinary clerks.

5. Forbids clerks to feast and drink in company with jugglers, &c. Orders them to preserve the tonsure properly, and not to wear improper clothes, e.g., not red or green, not too long nor too short, not to wear shoes with strings, nor to have their horse furniture gilded. Also forbids the use of copes (capas) with sleeves, in church at the hours.

6. Concerning the care of churches and sacred vessels.

7. All to confess and communicate once a year at least, under pain of being forbidden to enter church, and Christian burial.

9. Moors and Jews to pay tithe, &c.

11. A clerk serving a church only by authority of the patron, and without that of the bishop, to be excommunicated and incapable of holding any benefice.

12. No fees to be demanded for spiritual acts.

13. Of monks and regular canons.

VALLADOLID (1322). Held in 1322, by Cardinal William, Bishop of Savina, and legate of Pope John XXII. A preface and twenty-seven canons were published by his direction, and with the approbation of the council.

1. Orders that provincial councils be held every two years, and diocesan synods annually.

2. Orders all curates to read four times a year, in the vulgar tongue, to their parishioners the articles of belief, the decalogue, the number of the sacraments, and the different virtues and vices.

4. Orders that Sundays and festivals be kept holy.

10. Orders that bishops shall assign limits to parishes.

11. Excommunicates monks who fraudulently evade payment of tithes.

13. Exhorts curates to exercise hospitality.

14. Forbids to present to churches before a vacancy, or to present infants.

16. Declares them to be excommunicated, ipso facto, who eat or sell meat on any fast day.

17. Forbids secular meetings within churches, fairs, &c., in churchyards, and to fortify churches as places of defence.

20. Grants to clerks three years for study, during which time they may receive the fruits of their benefices without residence.

23 and 24. Excommunicates those who seize men and sell them to the Saracens; also all wizards, enchanters, and those who consult them.—Tom. xi. Conc. p. 1682.

VANNES (465). [Concilium Veneticum.] Held in 465, by St Perpetuus, the first archbishop of Tours, who presided over five other bishops. Paternus was in this council consecrated to the see of Vannes, and sixteen canons were published; many of which are the same with those of Tours, A.D. 461. The following are peculiar to this council.

2. Excommunicates those who marry again after having divorced their first wives, unless it was on account of adultery.

7. Forbids monks to retire into solitary cells, except they be men of tried virtue, and upon condition that they keep within the precincts of the abbey, and under the abbot’s jurisdiction.

8. Forbids abbots to hold many monasteries or cells.

11. Prohibits priests, deacons, and subdeacons, who are forbidden to marry, from attending marriage festivals, feasts, and assemblies at which love songs, &c., are sung, and immodest conversations held.

12. Forbids all clerks to attend Jewish festivals.

13. Excommunicates for thirty days ecclesiastics guilty of the sin of drunkenness, and enjoins even corporal punishment.

14. Excommunicates for seven days clerks who, living in the city, absent themselves from matins.

15. Orders that the same manner of celebrating Divine service shall be observed throughout the province of Lyons.

16. Excommunicates those of the clergy who meddle in divinations, and superstitiously pretend to foretell the future by chance readings of Holy Scripture.

These regulations are addressed to Victorius, Bishop of Maur, and Thalassius of Angers, who were unable to attend the council.—Tom. iv. Conc. p. 1054.

VATICAN (1869). Held in 1869 and 1870, by order of the Pope, Pius IX., and attended by seven hundred and sixty-two fathers of the Roman Catholic Church.

In view of the importance of this council and its acts, it may be useful to recapitulate the proportion of representation enjoyed at it by the various sections of the Roman Church. Excluding non-European states, the numbers appear as follows:—France sent eighty-four fathers; Austria, forty-eight; Germany, nineteen; Belgium, six; Spain, forty-one; the British Isles, thirty-four; Italy (excluding the Papal States), one hundred and thirty-three; and the Papal States one hundred and forty-three.

It will thus be seen that the Papal States (with a population numbering scarcely one-two-hundred-and-eightieth part of those represented at the council), were privileged to send nearly one-fifth of the fathers. Nor were the representatives of Italy far behind in point of numbers, while Germany, whose opposition to the proposed dogma of Papal Infallibility had been for a long time outspoken and unwavering, was permitted to send nineteen bishops only.

In all some ninety or a hundred congregations were held, and four public sessions.

The first, in obedience to the Bull “multiplices inter,” was held on the 8th December 1869, to inaugurate the opening of the council. The second took place on the 6th January 1870, when the assembled fathers publicly professed the creed of Pius IV., but no further business was transacted.

At the third session, held on the 24th April, four canons were published.

1. Of God the Creator of all things.

2. Of revelation.

3. Of faith.

4. Of faith and reason.

These canons were subscribed unanimously by all present, and seem to have been chiefly directed against the Deists and Materialists. They contain nothing of any particular moment, nor do they seem original in any respect.

In fact it was perfectly well known that all that had up to this time taken place was merely a prelude to the one doctrine of supereminent importance that the council had been called together to enunciate.

The dogma of Papal Infallibility was demanded by an influentially signed petition from the council in January, and the decree was formulated and presented to the council on the 17th March.

The words in which the most important chapter of this canon was submitted to the Fathers were as follows:—

ROMANUM PONTIFICEM IN REBUS FIDEI ET MORUM DEFINIENDIS ERRARE NON POSSE.

Sancta Romana Ecclesia summum et plenum primatum et principatum super universam Catholicam Ecclesiam obtinet, quem se ab ipso Domino in beato Petto, Apostolorum Principe, cujus Romanus Pontifex est successor, cum potestatis plenitudine recepisse veraciter et humiliter recognoscit.

Et sicut prae ceteris tenetur fidei veritatem defendere sic et si quae de fide subortae fuerint quaestiones suo debent judicio definiri. Et quia non potest Domini Nostri Jesu Christi praetermitti sententia dicentis “Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram ædificabo Ecclesiam meam,” haec quae dicta sunt rerum probantur effectibus quia in sede apostolica immaculata est semper Catholica conservata religio et sancta celebrata doctrina. Hinc sacro approbante Concilio dicimus et tanquam fidei dogma definimus per divinam assistentiam fieri ut Romanus Pontifex cui in persona beati Petri dictum est ab eodem Domino Nostro Christo “Ego pro te rogavi ut von deficiat fides tua,” cum supremi omnium Christianorum doctoris munere fungeus pro auctoritate definit quid in rebus fidei et morum ab universa Ecclesia tenendum est, errare non possit et hinc Romani Pontificis inerrantiae seu infallibilitatis prærogativam ad idem objectum porrigi ad quod infallibilitas Ecclesiae extenditur. Si quis autem huic nostrae definitioni contradicere (quod Deus avertat) praesumpserit, sciat se a veritate fidei Catholicae et ab ipsa veritate Ecclesiae defecisse.

It must not be supposed that this canon was passed, or even proposed, without considerable protest, though the council had been purposely selected as far as possible from those who were known to assent to the extreme views of the Ultra-montane party.

But Cardinals Rauscher, Schwartzenburg, and Matthieu, with Monseigneurs Darboy, Ginouillac, Calabriano and Conolly, the archbishops respectively of Paris, Lyons, Milan, and Halifax, led a small party who were vehemently opposed to the proposed dogma. Nor were Bishops Stross-mayer and Clifford, or Monseigneur Dupanloup of Orleans less active in entreating the council not to commit themselves to such an important and irretrievable step without due consideration and the utmost caution.

Early in January it was rumoured that the doctrine was to be carried by acclamation on the 8th of that month as a direct inspiration, but the determined opposition of so many of the fathers caused this to be temporarily abandoned. On Easter Monday the same plan was suggested, the disaffected minority having been to some extent either won over or silenced, but this time it is said that Pius IX. himself prohibited the course, saying that a canon of such importance must, before being enunciated by the council, be fully and freely discussed.

Upon this point many complaints arose. The anti-infallibility party were loud in their protests. They asserted that from the earliest days of the council they had not enjoyed sufficient liberty, that attempts had been continually made to silence them in the congregations, that the use of the printing press had been denied to them, and that the standing orders of the council were framed in such a way as to stifle all discussion except that initiated by the Papal party. Moreover, they complained that the pope himself refused even to listen to their representations, and that, in defiance of the wishes of the Chaldean bishops, the Holy Father had in February consecrated to vacant bishoprics in that province two Infallibilists, rejecting without a word the nominees of the Chaldeans.

Whatever truth there may have been in these assertions, there is little doubt that the determined opposition of the section headed by Cardinal Rauscher was being gradually broken down. The judicious arrangements for the lodging of the fathers, so as to bring social influence to bear upon waverers, and the cunningly suggested vacancies in the sacred college had done their work. Defections from the ranks of the disaffected occurred almost daily, and it soon became a foregone conclusion that the dogma would be passed by the council by an overwhelming majority.

Upon the question being at last put to the vote, there appeared four hundred and fifty Placets, eighty-eight non-Placets; sixty-two fathers gave a qualified assent only, and seventy at least were absent from the council at the time, of whom it may be presumed that nearly the entire number were opposed to the measure.

Another earnest attempt was made at the last moment to dissuade the pope from assenting, but he refused to listen, and on the nineteenth of July the question was again presented to the council in solemn assembly in St Peter’s, and there then voted five hundred and thirty-three for the dogma, and—so it is alleged—two only, the Bishops of Cajazzo and Little Rock, U.S.A., against it. The chief opponents of the dogma had by this time left Rome and rejoined their dioceses, the majority to tender their submission to the pope at no distant date, some to join with Dr Döllinger in forming the body subsequently known as the “Old Catholics,” who shortly afterwards made overtures to the Church of England, with whom they were admitted to be in communion.

VENICE (1177). [Concilium Venetum.] Held in 1177, by Pope Alexander III., assisted by his cardinals, and several bishops from Italy, Germany, Lombardy, and Tuscany. The Emperor Frederic, who had previously renounced the schism, and made peace with Alexander, was present. The pope pronounced sentence of excommunication against all troublers of the peace.—Tom. x. Conc. p. 1481.

VERBERIE (in the diocese of SOISSONS) (753). [Concilium Vermeriense.] Held in 753, by order of King Pepin. This council was, properly speaking, a national assembly. Twenty-one canons were published, chiefly relating to the subject of marriages.

1. Declares, that the marriages of relatives to the third degree of consanguinity are utterly null, so that the parties so married are at liberty, after penance, to marry others. That those who are related only in the fourth degree shall not be separated if married, but be put to penance.

3. Forbids a priest to marry, under pain of losing his rank. Forbids any one to marry the wife of a man who has been made priest.

5. Permits a man whose wife has conspired to murder him, to put her away, and to marry another.

6. Permits those persons who have married slaves, under the idea of their being free, to marry again.

9. Declares, that in cases in which men are absolutely obliged to leave their place of abode, to go to live elsewhere, if their wives refuse to go with them for no other reason than their affection for their country, or relations, or property, it shall be lawful for the husband to marry another, but not for the wife who remains behind.

14. Forbids bishops, when travelling out of their own diocese, to ordain priests, arid orders that persons so ordained, if they be really worthy of the priesthood, shall be ordained again.

15. Allows a degraded priest to baptise a sick person in case of necessity.

16. Forbids clerks to wear arms.

19. Forbids married slaves who are sold separately to different masters, to marry others, although they have no hope of ever being united again.

21. Enacts, that a husband who has permitted his wife to take the veil shall not marry another.—Tom. vi. Conc. p. 1656.

VERBERIE (869). Held in 869. Twenty bishops being present, with Charles the Bald; Hincmar of Laon was accused, and appealed to the pope; at the same time, he demanded leave to go to Rome, which, at the instigation of his uncle, was refused, but the proceedings against him were suspended.—Tom. viii. Conc. p. 1527. (See C. DOUZI, A.D. 871.)

VERCELLI (1050). [Concilium Vercellense.] Held in September 1050, by Pope Leo IX. Bishops attended from various nations. Berenger was cited to appear, but refused to attend; his errors were condemned, and the book of John Scotus upon the Eucharist was burned.—Lanfranc de Corp. Dom. 1. 4. Tom. ix. Conc. p. 1055.

VERDUN (947). [Concilium Virdunense.] Held in November 947, by seven bishops, who confirmed Artaldus in the possession of the See of Rheims, which Hugo disputed with him.—(see Council of MONSON, 948.) Tom. ix. Conc. p. 622.

VERNEUIL (844). [Concilium Vernense.] Held in 844, in December. Ebrouin, Arch-chaplain of Charles the Bald, and Bishop of Poictiers, presided, with Venilon, Archbishop of Sens. Twelve canons were published, addressed to Charles the Bald.

1. Contains an exhortation to the king.

2, 3. Contain an entreaty that he would send forth a commissioner to set in order what was irregular, and to repress crime, &c.

7. Renews the canon of Gangra, against certain female religious, who under pretext of higher perfection, had taken to wearing male attire.

8. Directs that when bishops are excused from going to the wars, either by infirmity, or by the kindness of the prince, they shall appoint fit men to lead their people.—Tom. vii. Conc. p. 1805.

VERNUM (754). A council was held in 754, at a place in France, named, in Latin, Vernum. Some doubt exists as to its locality; Fleury and Le Cointe say, that it is Vernon-sur-Seine; Pagi, following Mabillon, says Verneuil-sur-Oise; Lebeuf, and Don Bouquet, maintain that it is a place called Ver, or Vern, a royal seat, situated between Paris and Compeigne.

The council was assembled by order of King Pepin, and the bishops of all the Gallican provinces attended. The object was to re-establish discipline, and they agreed to remedy at once the most grievous abuses, and to leave lesser matters till a more favourable opportunity. Twenty-five canons were published.

1. Enacts that no bishop shall hold more than one see.

3. Gives to the bishop authority to correct both the regulars and seculars within his diocese.

4. Orders that two synods be held annually in France.

5. Leaves to the bishop the reform of the religious houses in his diocese; if he cannot effect it, he is directed to apply to the metropolitan, and lastly, to the synod.

7. Forbids to erect baptisteries without the bishop’s permission.

8. Orders priests to attend the synod of bishops, and forbids them to baptise, or to celebrate the holy office without their permission.

13. Forbids itinerant bishops (who have no diocese) to perform any function.

14. Forbids all work on Sundays, save such as is absolutely necessary. (3 Council of ORANGE, c. 27).

17. Forbids to leave a bishopric vacant for more than three months.

18. Forbids clerks to carry their causes before lay tribunals.

24. Forbids simony.—Tom. vi. Conc. p. 1664.

VERONA (1184). [Concilium Veronese.] Held on the 1st of August 1184, for the purpose of reconciling those who had been ordained by the anti-popes. Pope Lucius III. published a constitution against the heretics, in the presence of the Emperor Frederic; the object was to repress the fury of the Cathari, Paterini, also the Passagini or Paronistæ, who rejected the doctrines of the Trinity, the authority of the Fathers and the Roman Church, and observed the Mosaic law to the letter, and the other heretics of that period. In this council, we perceive the commencement of the system of inquisition, since the bishops are ordered, by means of commissaries, to inform themselves of persons suspected of heresy, whether by common report or private information. A distinction is drawn between the suspected and convicted, the penitent and relapsed, and different degrees of punishment are accordingly awarded. After all the spiritual penalties of the Church have been employed in vain, it is ordered that the offenders be given up to the secular arm, in order that temporal punishments may be inflicted.—Tom. x. Conc. p. 1741 and 1737.

VEZELAI (1051). [Concilium Vezeliacum.] Under Leo IX., where Wulfinus, Bishop of Dorchester in England, who had been banished for his evil deeds, complained to the pope, who, however, was so far from taking his part, that he was within a little of adding degradation to his punishment.

VEZELAI (1146). Held in 1146, after the capture of Edessa by the Saracens. Louis VII., the archbishop, bishops, abbots, and many of the nobility of France attended. St Bernard, who was present, urged him, with great eloquence, to succour the Christians against the Turks. The king was amongst the first to assume the cross, together with his wife Eleanor. After them, Alphonso, Count of St Gilles, Thierry, Count of Flanders, Count Guido, and many others of the nobility, took the vow.—Tom. x. Conc. p. 1100.

VICTORIA (520). A synod was held about 520, by St David, Archbishop of Menevia, at a place called Victoria, at which all the clergy of Cambria were assembled; they confirmed the acts of Brevy. Other canons relating to discipline were added, and, according to Giraldus Cambrensis, these two synods were made the rule and standard of the British Churches.—Girald. Camb. de vita S. Davidis, in Ang. Sacr.

VIENNA (1267). [Concilium Vindobonense.] Held May 10, 1267, by Guy, Cardinal legate. A constitution in nineteen articles was published, very similar to that drawn up in the Council of Cologne, in the year preceding.

By canon 3, clerks having wives or concubines, were ordered to separate from them within a month, under pain of being deprived.

6. All pluralities were forbidden.

14. Forbids abbots to consecrate chalices, patens, or any ecclesiastical vessel or vestment.

The last five relate to the Jews.—Tom. xi. Conc. p. 858.

VIENNE (in DAUPHINE) (892). [Concilium apud Viennam Allobrogum.] Held in 892, by order of Pope Formosus, whose two legates, Pascal and John, presided. Several bishops were present, and four canons were published.

1, 2. Excommunicate those who seize the property of the church, or maltreat clerks.

4. Forbids laymen to present to churches, without the consent of the bishop of the diocese; also forbids them to take any present from those whom they present.—Tom. ix. Conc. p. 433.

VIENNE (1199). [Concilium Viennense.] Held in December 1199, by Peter of Capua, legate, who, in the presence of several bishops, published an interdict upon all places within the dominions of King Philip Augustus, on account of his unlawful marriage, at the same time ordering all bishops to observe it, under pain of suspension.—Tom. xi. Conc. p. 11.

VIENNE (1311 and 1312). Held October 1, 1311, under Clement V., who presided. The object of the council was the extinction of the order of the Templars, and the reestablishment of discipline. The King, Philip-le-Bel, was present, accompanied by his brother Charles de Valois, and his three sons, Louis, King of Navarre, Philip, and Charles.

For a long time past, loud complaints had been made against the Templars, on account of their alleged bad faith and arrogance, and their abuse of their privileges. In the bull of convocation, the pope declared that he had heard with sorrow, that this order had fallen into utter apostasy, and into the most unheard-of crimes; that Philip of France had given him information upon the subject. Urged thereto by a pious zeal, and by no interested motive, since it was not his intention to appropriate to himself the possessions of the Templars, the pope further declares, that he had, in the presence of several of the cardinals, examined as many as seventy-two of the Templars, who had confessed, that at the reception of brethren into the order, they were made to renounce Jesus Christ, to spit upon the cross, and to do other horrible acts which decency forbade even to mention.

The Templars in France had been arrested throughout the kingdom by order of the king, and many of them confessed the same horrible impieties and sacrilegious conduct. But as their confessions were forced from them by tortures, very little credit seems to be due to them; added to this, there is a marvellous variation in the different accounts given by historians of this affair. However this may be, the pope issued another bull, ordering all bishops to gather what information they could against the Templars, in their respective dioceses, and named commissioners to take proceedings against the whole order. The grand master, James de Molis, or de Molay, was cited to appear before the commissioners at Paris. These commissioners were, the Archbishop of Narbonne, the Bishops of Bayeux, Mende, and Limoges, and three archdeacons. Being questioned as to the confession which he had made before the cardinals, the grand master testified horror at the crimes of which he was accused, and declared, that had he been at liberty, he should have spoken very differently.

Fifty-nine of these wretched men were burnt at Paris, in the field near the abbey of St Anthony, not one of whom confessed the crimes imputed to them, but, to the last, maintained their innocence, which had a great effect upon the people at large. At Senlis, nine were burnt, who also denied their guilt, and declared that their confession had been forced from them by the tortures they had endured.

More than three hundred bishops attended this council, without reckoning abbots and priors. In the first session, the pope laid open the three causes which had induced him to convoke the assembly.

The next session was not held until the year following. In the interval, various conferences were held upon the subject of the Templars, and all the bishops agreed, that before condemning them they ought to be heard in their own defence.

However, on the 22nd of March 1312, the pope, in the presence of several bishops and cardinals, abolished the order of Templars, reserving for his own disposal, and that of the Church, their property and persons.

In the second session, the king, his three sons, and his brother, were present, and the pope published his decree suppressing the order, which had existed for one hundred and eighty-four years; their property was given to the knights Hospitallers of the order of St John of Jerusalem, now called the knights of Malta, excepting their possessions in the kingdoms of Castile, Arragon, Portugal, and Majorca, which were destined for the defence of the country against the Moslems, and were granted to the military orders of Calatrava and of Christ. As to the persons of the Templars, it was ordered, that those who were deemed innocent should be supported from the funds of the order. That those who had confessed their crimes should be treated leniently, and that the unpenitent should be rigorously punished. As for those who had endured the torture without confessing, it was settled that their case should be reserved in order to be judged by the canons.

The grand master, with the commanders of Normandy and Aquitaine, who had been at first condemned by the three cardinal legates to perpetual imprisonment, because they had confessed the crimes charged against them, having subsequently retracted their confession, and declared their innocence, were given up into the hands of the provost; upon which Philip-le-Bel without consulting a single ecclesiastic, by the advice of some of those about him, caused them to be burnt, and they died maintaining their innocence.

Clement V. had given instructions to the bishops to bring with them to the council a brief summary of those matters which, in their judgment, most needed reform. Two of these memoirs remain; one by William Durandus, Bishop of Mende, and the other by a bishop unknown. The latter proposes, amongst other things, the reform of such abuses as the following: the immense number of sentences of excommunication inflicted for trifling offences; the constant voyages of ecclesiastics to Rome; the large number of benefices, in every country, given by the court of Rome to foreigners, to the injury of the native clergy; plurality of benefices; the disorderly lives of the beneficed clergy; the extravagance exhibited at their tables, and the luxury of their dress.

The Bishop of Mende desired to return to antiquity, and to the observation of the ancient canons. That the granting of dispensations should be kept within proper bounds; that provincial councils should be held, &c. That the tenth of the revenue of all benefices should be granted to poor scholars studying in the university. He also insisted upon a thorough reform in the court of Rome, &c., &c.

Much was said in this council upon the subject of exemptions; the bishops required their total abolition, and that all ecclesiastics, regular and secular, should be subject to them. This demand gave rise to a long dispute.

The celebrated difference between Philip-le-Bel and Pope Bonifacius VIII. was also terminated. The council declared Bonifacius, whom Philip had all along treated as a heretic, to have been a sound catholic, and to have done nothing meriting the charge of heresy. In order, however, to satisfy the king, the pope published a decree to this effect, that neither he, nor his successor, should be at any time accused concerning his conduct towards Bonifacius.

Further, certain errors attributed to John d’Olive, a Minorite, were condemned. It was declared, that the Son of God took to Himself both parts of our human nature, i.e., both soul and body, which together form the real body; and that whosoever shall maintain that the reasonable soul is not an essential part of the human body, shall be regarded as a heretic.

In the third and last session, a constitution drawn up by the pope was published, for promoting union amongst the Minorites, who had been torn by divisions for a long time past. Various regulations were also made, affecting the begging friars, and a rule of life laid down for the black monks, and regular canons. The Beguins (Beguardi, Beguinæ) were condemned, and a regulation drawn up upon the subject of hospitals. Lastly, the pope, in the name of the council, made two constitutions upon the privileges of monks and others who were exempt, 1. To defend them against the encroachments of the bishops, and the 2nd to check the abuse of their privileges. In the latter, it is forbidden to a monk, under pain of excommunication, ipso facto, to administer extreme unction, the eucharist, and the viaticum, or to give the nuptial benediction, without permission from the curate.

The pope also confirmed the establishment of the festival of the Holy Sacrament (or Corpus Christi, first established at Liege in 1246, by Robert, the bishop), and confirmed first by Urban IV. in 1264. It was further enacted, that in order to promote the study of the Oriental languages, and so to facilitate the conversion of the heathen, professors of Hebrew, Arabic, and Chaldee, two for each language, should be established at Rome, and in the universities of Paris, Oxford, Bologna, and Salamanca; those at Rome to be maintained and paid by the pope; those at Paris, by the King of France; and the others by the prelates and chapters of their respective nations.

The Bull of Bonifacius VIII., “Clericis laicos,” upon the immunities of clerks, was revoked, and a tenth ordered to be levied upon all ecclesiastical revenues, in aid of the crusade to the Holy Land. The heretic, Barlaam, who confounded the essence of God with His operations, was condemned in this council.—Raynal, A.D. 1311, liv. Tom. xi. Conc. p. 1537.

VIENNE (1557). Held July 2, 1557. Fourteen canons were published. (1) Orders rectors, &c., to teach the people in the vulgar tongue, the Lord’s prayer, the salutation of the Virgin, the Apostles’ Creed, and the legal and evangelical precepts. (5) Orders rectors, &c., to denounce those who do not confess and communicate at Easter.—Mart., Thes. Anec., tom. iv. col. 447.

VIQUE (1027 circ.). [Ausonense.] Esp. Sag. xxviii. p. 127.








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