The Doctor and Student (1518)

Christopher St. Germain

Whether the presentment and collation of all benefices and dignities, voiding at Rome, belongeth only to the Pope

Stud. In the same sum called summa rosella, in the title beneficium primum, in the 13th article, it is said, that benefices, dignities and parsonages voiding in the court of Rome may not be given but by the pope; and likewise of the pope’s servants, and of other that come and go from the court, if they die in places nigh to the court within two days journey, all these belong to the pope but if the pope present not within a month, then after the month they to whom it belongeth to present, may present by themselves only, or by their vicar-general, if they be in far parts. And these sayings hold not in the laws of the realm.

Doct. What is the cause that they hold not in this realm as well as in all other realms?

Stud. One cause is this: The king in this realm, according to the ancient right of his crown, of all his advowsons that be of his patronage ought to present, and in like wise other patrons of benefices of heir presentment; and the pleas of the right of presentments of benefices within this realm belong to the king and his crown. And these titles cannot be taken from the king and his subjects but by their assent; and the law that is made therein to put away the title bindeth not in this realm. And over that before the statute of 25 Ed. 39 there was a great inconvenience and mischief by reason of divers provisions and reservations that the pope made to the benefices in this realm, contrary to the old right of the king, and other patrons in this realm, as well to the archbishopricks, bishopricks, deanries and abbies, as to other dignities and benefices of the church. And many times aliens thereby had benefices within the realm that understood not the English tongue, so that they could not counsel ne comfort the people when need required; and by that occasion great riches was conveyed out of the realm. Wherefore, to avoid such inconveniences, it was ordained by the said statute, that all patrons, as well spiritual as temporal, should have the presentments freely and in case the collation or provision were made by the pope in disturbance of any spiritual person, that then for that time the king should have the presentment; and if it were in disturbance of any lay patron, that then if the patron presented not within the half-year after such voidance, nor the bishop of the place within a month after the halfyear, that then the king should have also the presentment, and that the king should have the profits of the benefices so occupied by provision, except abbies and priories, and other houses that have college and Covent, and there the college and covent, to have the profits. And because the statute is general, and excepteth no such benefices as shall void in the court of Rome, or in such other place as before appeareth, therefore they be taken to be within the provision of the said statute, as well as the benefices that void within the realm: and all provisors and executors of the said collations and provisions, and all their attornies, notaries and maintainers, shall be out of the protection of the king, and shall Have like punishment as they should have for executing of benefices voiding within the realm.

Doct. But I cannot see how the said statute may stand with conscience, that so far restrained the pope of his liberty, which as me seemeth, he ought in this case of right to have.

Stud. Because (as I suppose) that patrons ought of right to have their presentments under such manner as they claim them in this realm, as I have said before, and as in the 26th chapter of this book appeareth more at large. Also forasmuch as it appeareth evidently, that great inconvenience followed upon the said provisions, and that the said statute was made to avoid the same, which sith that time hath been suffered by the pope, and hath been alway used in thisrealm without resistance, it seemeth that the said statute should therefore stand with good conscience.