medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
It’s been 30 years since I knew what I was talking about concerning the legalities of English benefices, and that wasn’t all that much to begin with, but this sounds like some sort of church permutation(see below) and possibly the shady practice of the “chop-church,” a broker--I’m assuming here the priest of St. Mary’s--overseeing the swapping of benefices (according to Rodes, “Ecclesiastical Administration on Medieval England,” pp. 118-19).
Is the £200 perhaps the difference between the value of St. Mary’s and St. Andrews, cloaked under the excuse of “remission of sins”?
But I’m really guessing here.
PERMUTATION. In the canon law, a real and actual exchange of two benefices. Permutation is a means of bringing benefices into commerce without simony.
The conditions required to a canonical permutation are—1. That there be benefices permuted on either side, though the revenues be unequal, and in case of inequality no compensation to be made in money, but only a pension charged on the bigger. 2. That each of the permutants quit his benefice, and make a procuration ad resignandum. 3. That the permutation be followed by a collation of the ordinary. 4. That the ordinary be informed of the cause of the permutation. 5. That those to whom the presentation or election to the benefices belongs give their consent, or, in case of their refusal, that the consent of the diocesan be had.
The chief rules of permutation are, that if one of the compermutants cannot enjoy, he re-enters with full right into the benefice he has quitted; and that if he die ere he have accomplished the permutation on his part by the taking of possession, the compermutant who has accomplished retains both benefices, unless they fall into the regale. (T. Moore, “Dictionary of the English Church, ancient and modern , from Google Books)
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From: "Laura Jacobus" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2012 10:38:15 AM
Subject: [M-R] ius patronatus transfers
medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture I'm working on what 's seems to be a strange set of linked transactions which I'm hoping members of this list can help explain. In essence it's a three-way exchange of ius patronatus coupled with a donation, all of which took place with all parties present on the same day, two of which were explicitly 'in remission of sins'.
1) Dives is patron of St. Mary's, (an important church) and patron of St. Andrew's (probably a small country church). He donates the ius patronatus of St. Andrew's to St. Mary's, stating that he does this in remission of sins.
2) The priest of St. Mary's promptly swaps the ius patronatus of St. Andrew's for the ius patronatus of St. Thomas's, which is owned by a monastery. They say that this is done for their mutual convenience, which make sense as St. Thomas's is near St. Mary's and St. Andrew's is near the monastery.
3) Dives donates £200 to the monastery, with the condition that the monastery spends it within one month on a house for the brothers when they visit town. Dives states that this too is in remission of sins.
4) It transpires that nearly 40 years later this £200 had yet to be paid! In his will, Dives refers to his promise of £200 for a house, which he says was linked to the exchange of ius patronatus, and finally leaves the monastery the money.
My first question is why did Dives not simply donate the £200 and the ius patronatus of St. Andrew's directly to the monastery and cut out the middleman (St. Mary's) so to speak? I'm guessing that the ius patronatus of St. Andrew's is of lesser value than St. Thomas's, to the tune of £200, and that the donation of £200 makes up the difference in value. St. Mary's is effectively 'in his pocket' so in the end Dives has got the ius patronatus of St. Thomas via his ownership of the ius patronatus of St. Mary's. But presumably to do a direct transaction would be open to charges of simony, hence he splits it up into a £200 gift and a 'hands off' swap between the two churches. Does that sound right?
My second question is how can all this count as 'remission of sins'? Or, put another way, is this all an accounting exercise to enable Dives to get what he wants while avoiding simony and writing off some sins into the bargain- a sort of spiritual money-laundering? Even ignoring the fact that he kept the £200, the net result of this seems to be that Dives ended up as the patron of two valuable livings, whilst on paper it looks as if he's derived no benefit from his two 'donations'.
As you can tell, I'm inclined to take a cynical view, but it's not my sort of thing (I'm an art historian) and I may have got this completely wrong. Views welcome!
Dr. Laura Jacobus
Senior Lecturer in History of Art
Birkbeck College, University of London
For details of my book on Giotto and the Arena Chapel see http://www.brepols.net/Pages/ShowProduct.aspx?prod_id=IS-9781905375127-1
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