|15 Kal. Oct.
St. Peter's, Rome.
To the archbishop of Canterbury. Mandate to enquire, etc. as below, inasmuch, as the pope's ears do not cease to be stricken with the reports of the ever-growing strength in England and Wales, and especially in the province of Canterbury, of a certain crafty (dolosa), and bold sect of pseudo-christians, who call themselves the poor men of the treasure of Christ and His disciples, and whom the vulgar call by the sounder (saniori) name of Lo[l]lards, like dry tares (quasi lolium aridum). These— not men, but damnable shades of men (virorum ombre damnose), some of whom are in a measure (prope modum) lettered, do not fear, to the subversion of all ecclesiastical order, under a pretended humility, devotion, and abstinence, to publish, preach, and openly also to write and affirm against the orthodox faith and the Holy Roman and universal church, in whose bosom they learned letters to the confusion and eternal damnation of themselves and many, a number of erroneous, detestable, and heretical articles, of which the pope has thought good to express a few [viz. the 4th, 3rd, 11th, 5th, and 7th]. They assert with polluted mouth that in the sacrament of the Eucharist, which is shown to Christian people by the hands and ministry of priests, the body of Christ, which they say has never left (exivit) heaven, is present not objectively, but only subjectively by grace (non realiter and habitualiter tantum existat), and in that way any faithful man and woman can, according to the law of God (de lege Dei), without any miracle make the sacrament of His bread (facere sacramentum sui panis). They add that the law of continence for priests and holy virgins is the cause of greatest sins, which the pope denies, the continent man being able by holy fasts and assiduous prayers, with the grace of God, to preserve his integrity unsullied (intemperatam); that exorcisms and blessings in church of wine, bread, water, oil, salt, wax, incense, the altar stone, church walls, vestments, mitres, pastoral or pilgrims’ staves, are practices of necromancy; that special prayers for the dead are a false foundation of alms, and other detestable and erroneous articles. The archbishop is to make enquiry against all, both men and women, of the said sect, in his city, diocese, and province, and warn and require them to return to the unity of the catholic faith; and on their refusal, to strip those who are ecclesiastics of all prerogative of their order, and leave them to be punished by the secular power, and to leave those who are laymen to be
punished by the secular judge; declaring them and their defenders anathema, and laying the places where they dwell and through which they pass under interdict; depriving them of ecclesiastical burial, and causing their goods to be applied to the revenue (fisco) of their immediate lord; invoking, if expedient, the aid of the secular arm; compelling contradictors and rebels, ecclesiastical and mundane, by ecclesiastical censure, without appeal. The archbishop is urged to act without fear or pusillanimity, otherwise the pope will be compelled, against his will, to provide severly against his negligence. (De curia.) [For the text of the Conclusiones Lollardorum of 1395, see Wilkins's Concilia, iii. 221; Lewis, Wiclif, 337; Shirley, Fasc. Zizan. 360.]