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election of a Pope have been simoniacal — that is, necessarily, if he, the unit, think so. The French ecclesiastical historian, Jean Sponde, * better known by the Latin form of his name, Spondanus, remarks (A.D. 1505), obviously enough, that the remedy provided by Julius II. would be of considerably difficult application ; “wherefore,” he proceeds to add, with an amount of audacious and brazen-fronted hypocrisy and falsehood hardly to be paralleled, “God has provided that there has never been need of it.” The perhaps most grossly and notoriously simoniacal election, that of Alexander VI. in 1492, was still fresh in men's minds, besides numerous other examples in more remote times. The very next election after that of Julius II. himself, when these denunciations and threats of his were brand new and fresh, that of Leo X., was unquestionably simoniacal. And the probability is that scarcely one, if one, election could be adduced during the last three centuries which has not been tainted by simony as understood and defined by Julius II.
“XV. In all cities and places of importance, as soon as the death of the Pope is known, solemn obsequies shall be celebrated ; and during the vacancy of the see prayer shall be every day made to God for the speedy, unanimous, and judicious election of a new Pontiff, which the prelates shall also strive to promote by prescribing days of fasting.”
Such are the constitutions of Gregory X., which,
• Sponde was born at Mauléon in 1568. His “ Ecclesiastical Annals" are in fact an abbreviation of the great work of Baronius, who was his intimate friend.
though modified by subsequent Pontiffs in many respects, and supplemented by more minute regulations in yet more, remain to the present day the foundation and origin of all the law and usage observed in the papal elections up to this time, and may therefore be considered as putting an end to the fluid state of matters which has been described in the preceding chapters, and to this our first book.
BOOK II. ·
NOBLE BOYS AT PLAY.
Latter Years of the Middle Ages, from Gregory X. to Pius IV.-Contrast
of the Ecclesiastical World of those Days with Present Times.- Where Modern History commences in the Annals of the Papacy.--Variability of the Church.-Papal History falls into Groups of Popes.-Causes of this Phenomenon.-Paul III. the last of a Group of Popes.-Paul IV. the first of a different Group.—List of Popes from 1271 to 1549.
WE start fair, then, from the constitutions of Gregory X., made in the Council held by him at Lyons in 1274. But it was easier in those days to make “constitutions” than to get them observed. This, though unfortunately not a peculiarity of the Middle Ages, was yet a characteristic belonging to them in a special manner. Historians have considered these Middle Ages to last from the fifth to the fifteenth century-a thousand years. And though the days of Gregory X. were comparatively near the end of them, we are, therefore, not out of them yet when we arrive at that point. And the last quarter of the space so designated is, of course, that of which we know most, and which is infinitely the most important to us. We get well out of the epoch of the Middle Age before reaching the time when Pius IV. (ob. 1565) found it necessary to add a string of supplementary