Rome: 1564, July-September

Pages 166-170

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Vatican Archives, Volume 1, 1558-1571. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

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1564, July–September

Vat. Arch.
Nunt. Germ.
vol. lxvi.
f. 226d.
312. [Zacharias] Delfino, Bishop [of Lesina], Nuncio in Germany] to [Charles] Borromeo, Cardinal [Archbishop of Milan].
… “The Dane by reason of his proximity to and alliance with Saxony has been able to get as many Germans as he desired. The Swede's money has enabled him, distant as he is from Germany, to transport from England and Scotland plenty of men, and the Queens of those countries, whose interest would not be served by the Swede being left at the mercy of the Dane, have given all their subjects leave to handle the money as well of the one as of the other King without distinction, and this they have clone for the purpose of avoiding at least the appearance of partiality: for it is too well known that in fact it is not worth the Dane's while to raise troops in these kingdoms, so that the Swede alone will get their services.”
6 July, 1564. Vienna. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Arm. xlii.
vol. 21. f. 42.
313. Pope Pius IV to Richard [Creagh], Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of all Ireland, and David Wolf, S.J., Nuncio of the Apostolic See in Ireland.
Commission for the amendment of the morals of the clergy throughout Ireland, the abatement of prevalent abuses and the promotion of the salvation of the faithful.
The powers and duties of the Commissioners are as follows:—
1. To absolve from excommunication even the greater, suspension, and all other ecclesiastical sentences, censures and pains, subject nevertheless to the imposition of salutary penance, the descendants of those who were guilty, either as principals or as accessories, of the murder of Cardinal Ruffus (sic) or of the capture of Donat Mactaig, late Primate of Ireland, and also all such as have since laid violent hands, even to the effusion of blood, upon priests and other clerks.
2. To delegate to ordinaries faculty to grant to parish priests resident within their dioceses in places remote from the sea, or where there is a scarcity of fish, licence to eat cheese, butter and other such food in Lent and other prohibited seasons and times without scruple of conscience, and to authorize the use by priests of portable altars on which, while in fear of the heretics and no longer, to celebrate Mass with due reverence and solemnity in suitable places outside their churches.
3. To institute to Cathedral, even Metropolitan, churches now void or hereafter to become void extra Romanam Curiam such of the neighbouring bishops as they may deem meet, provided the Pope for the time being be first by their letters notified of the vacancies and the persons whom they deem meet for preferment, and he or the Apostolic See have appointed them, as administrators in spirituals and temporals, with all the power pertaining to such administrators; so nevertheless that after deduction of a meet and modest portion of the fruits, rents and issues of the void church, or its episcopal or archiepiscopal table, to be assigned to the administrator, all the residue of the said fruits etc. be applied to the restoration of the church and the upkeep of its ornaments.
4. The Archbishop carefully to consider and report to the Holy See with all speed by particular informations under his seal when and where outside the churches he may be able to celebrate, or cause to be celebrated, Mass, and what relics of the Saints lawfully to be granted to him, and by him to be held in due reverence, and holy oil he may be able to transport from Rome to Ireland. The Nuncio in like manner is to consider and report as to the transfer so far as he shall deem it expedient of Cathedrals oppressed by heretics, or otherwise deserted by Catholics, to neighbouring towns or other places where Mass and the other Divine offices may be more conveniently celebrated.
5. Jointly or severally to proceed by inquisition in a simple, summary and informal manner, against all and each of whatever dignity, station, rank, order or condition, though of episcopal or even higher dignity, who are tainted with simony, openly keep concubines, or unlawfully usurp and retain the fruits of ecclesiastical benefices, even though under pretext that they are due to them as first fruits or by right of patronage, or otherwise, and also against regulars of dissolute and scandalous life, to whichever of the mendicant orders they may belong, the process, so far as it may relate to bishops, to be sent in the usual way, duly closed, to the Holy See for more mature consideration, all offenders of a lesser degree to be sentenced, and punishment to be invoked, according to the canons of the Council of Trent and other canonical regulations.
6. To prohibit, under sentences, censures and pains ecclesiastical, and even by public edict, the granting by any Irish priest, whatever his dignity, rank or order, of absolution to anyone from sentence of excommunication, whether incurred simpliciter or ad cautelam, for laying violent hands upon clerks, and also to prohibit as aforesaid the presuming to go to the Roman Curia with intent to obtain churches or other benefices ecclesiastical, without prior attestation by the said Commissioners, or one of them, of the Catholic faith and probity of those for whom such churches are solicited, and that the incumbents are dead and the said churches and benefices really void.
7. In reinforcement of sentences of excommunication to cause the decrees of the Council of Trent to be observed in judicio et extra.
8. The Nuncio in amplification of his faculties in matrimonial cases to have power for just and reasonable cause to dispense with the impediment of the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity.
9. All the several powers of the Commissioners to be exercisable by duly appointed delegates.
10. Authority and express mandate to do all that may be necessary and convenient for the exercise of these powers, all constitutions and ordinances, whether general or special, Apostolic, and published in provincial and synodal councils, Statutes of monasteries, convents and orders, sanctioned by oath, confirmation Apostolic or otherwise, and customs, privileged indults, letters Apostolic granted to them, and their Superiors, Chapters, and persons, of whatever tenor and form, and with whatever clauses, and other decrees, reinforced, modified and approved, and any indult exempting any persons or person from interdict, suspension or excommunication by Letters Apostolic, without full and express and particular mention of the said indult, notwithstanding.
11. Transcripts of the Commission certified under the hand of a notary public and confirmed by the seal of some ecclesiastical dignitary to be entitled to full credit even as the original.
13 July, 1564. St. Mark's, Rome. Latin. Draft with expediatur subjoined.
Vat. Lib.
Barb. Lat.
2125(xxxi. 10).
f. 154.
314. Pope Pius IV to Shane O'Neil, Prince of Ulster.
Commending his indefatigable zeal and steadfast courage in defence of the Catholic faith, and exhorting him to persevere therein to the end. There is nothing in which the Pope would not gladly gratify him so far as he might with a clear conscience. He is therefore the more distressed that his petition for the preferment of his brother to the episcopate cannot be granted by reason that he has not yet attained the lawful age according to the decree of the recent Council, whose decrees it would be the more scandalous to violate because the Pope has confirmed them and ordered them to be everywhere observed. Pending the minority of the Prince's brother a pension has been reserved for him out of the fruits of the void church, that he may have the means to fit himself for future preferment.
As to the Prince's claim of ecclesiastical patronage, the Pope has no information upon which to decide the question, the Prince's messengers reporting that the letter on that subject was intercepted by the heretics. This defect will doubtless be supplied by Richard, Archbishop of Armagh, the bearer of this letter, upon his return to Ireland, and upon receipt of his advice the Pope will, so far as he lawfully may, study the Prince's interests. This Archbishop, chosen as he was for his exemplary life, the soundness of his morals and doctrine, and his extreme zeal for the Catholic faith to be the pastor of so noble a church, is also well known to the Pope to be very well affected to the Prince, both by the zeal which he displayed that the Prince's desire should be gratified, and by his eloquence in extolling the Prince's merits. He therefore deserves the Prince's counsel, aid and countenance, both to assure him possession of his see, and to support him in the governance of it. Respect for the Pope and the Apostolic See, and regard for the public weal of the kingdom, should induce the Prince with unremitting zeal so to do; and thereby he will greatly gratify the Pope, who is confident that the Prince and Catholics generally will recognize that the best interests of the church have been consulted in the appointment. The Archbishop will upon his arrival convey to the Prince the Pope's salutation and Apostolic blessing, and will declare his paternal mind at large. May God grant the Prince increase of grace, preserve him, His trusty and well approved champion, for the defence of holy religion and the Catholic faith, and protect him against all his enemies.
14 July, 1564. St. Mark's, Rome. Latin. Copy.
Vat. Lib. Barb.
Lat. 5798 (lxii.
58). f. 369.
315. John Francis Commendone, [Nuncio in Poland] to [Charles] Borromeo, Cardinal [Archbishop of Milan].
“Whenever in doubt I shall take occasion to write to Rome, as I am bidden by the Pope. And so I make a beginning with the divorce, in regard to which I am determined to leave nothing untried to prevent the King from making such a request of his Holiness, because, if once he do so, I fear that thereafter the mischief will be almost irremediable. I have ever in mind the labours of Pope Clement consequent upon the King of England's petition, whereby his Holiness soon afterwards witnessed the loss of a kingdom.
“I thank God that, such being the peril, He has at least allowed me to detect this machination in time. From that hour to the present, upon all the occasions which have been afforded me by the prolixity and variety of the discussions which the King, contrary to his wont, has had with me, I have never ceased, now in this way, now in that, to turn his mind from such thoughts. Twice I have related to him, once of set purpose, on the other occasion at his request, the tragedy of King Henry, and how frequently he repented him thereof with many efficacious penances, as told me by his daughter Queen Mary herself when first she gave me the cedula of the restitution of that kingdom to the obedience of the Apostolic See.”
28 August, 1564. Lublino. Decipher. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib. Barb.
Lat. 5759 (lxii.
19). f. 144.
316. [Charles] Borromeo, Cardinal [Archbishop of Milan] to [Prospero Publicola] Santacroce, Bishop [of Chissamos, Nuncio in France].
… “His Holiness cannot approve your having accepted an invitation to dine with the English Ambassador: it would have been better had you invited him to your house. Nevertheless we hope that your going thither will not prove fruitless in regard to religious matters; and in that case his Holiness will moderate his displeasure upon receipt of a full account of all that passed.”
Decipher.—“In regard to religion, and in particular the Council, you must speak to the Queen, and that with all frankness … not, however, with the severity that would commend itself to the Ambassador of the Catholic King, who perchance is making for a rupture between us and the Most Christian King, that for lack of friends we may be compelled to throw ourselves into the arms of the Catholic King. His Holiness sees clearly, having regard to all that you write upon this matter, that it would be worth while to compel the Queen to declare herself, but he does not find himself strong enough to do so; and I suppose that you know how little we can count upon in concert with the Catholic King. You must not, however, fail to speak, as I have said, with all frankness, but in going further you must be as instant with the Spanish Ambassador as he is with you, that you may not be induced by his words to come to a rupture, dissociate from him and alone, for this is no time for that.”
20 Sept., 1564. Rome. Italian. Copy.