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ditor of the congregation of the Rota, at Rome, and afterwards bishop of Arras.
On the death of doctor Bishop, the dean and chapter constituted by him, exercised during the vacancy of the see, if this expression may be used, the jurisdiction which had been conferred on them by doctor Bishop*.
Doctor Smith, soon after his appointment, confirmed, and, in some manner, newly modelled the chapter, by letters patent dated the 16th March 1627. He afterwards recalled them, and renewed the ancient chapter, by an instrument, dated the 13th January 1625, but limited the number of its members to thirty t.
The right of doctor Bishop and doctor Smith to appoint
In the early ages of christianity, the bishop generally conferred on every matter of importance, with the neighbouring clergy 1: St. Augustin and Eusebius of Vercelli, lived in common with their clergy, as monastics. In the eighth century, St. Chrodegandus, the bishop of Metz, formed the clergy of his own church into a community, and established certain rules for their conduct. At a council held at Aix-la-Chapelle, in 815, an outline of them *, was prescribed for general use. The rules thus formed were called the canon of St:: Chrodegandus, and the cathedral clergy, from their observances of these rules, were called canonst. *The same rules were observed by some other churches, and these received, from this circumstance, the appellation of collegiate churches. This excellent institution began to fall into decline towards the middle of the tenth century; those who continued to observe it were called regular canons. By degrees, they separated themselves from the service of the cathedral, and were formed into an order, holding a kind of middle state between the secular clergy and the monastics. Those, who did not adopt the rule, remained attached to the cathedral service, and were called secular canons. They appropriated to their own use, a portion of the property attached to the cathedral, subdivided it among themselves, living separately as persons absolutely secular. To assist them in the performance of their cathedral duty, and, too often, to excuse themselves from its obligations, they employed stipendiary ecclesiastics, who acquired the appellation of minor
• Dodd, vol. ii. p. 470. + Dodd, vol. iii. p. 7, 8. | Thomassin, Traité de la discipline ecclesiastique, tom. i.
ii. cap. 7, 8.
The greater canons constituted the chapter, -a political body aggregate, with a dean, with a common seal, generally with some property, and an officer called a sindic to transact their temporal concerns. By common right, they are subject to the jurisdiction of the bishop ; but
Fleury, Hist. Ecc. tom. x. p. 304. + Dec To
under this word.
have frequently been exempted from it, by papal indults. The cardinal of Lorraine said, at the council of Trent*, that “ he did not know of a
plague more noxious in the church, than these “ exemptions."
The rights and duties of the chapter vary according to the situation of the see :—when the see is full, the bishop, in some instances, advises, or is supposed to advise, with the chapter ; in others, he cannot act without their consent ;-when the see is vacant, the chapter generally administers the spiritual functions of the bishop, in all matters, to which episcopal order is not necessary ; they have the care of the possessions of the see ; and, where common right has been retained, nominate the successor. During three months after the vacancy of the see takes place, they generally abstain, as much as the case admits, from the exercise of their powers; if the vacancy continues beyond three months, the see is said to be under impediment, and the powers of the chapter, are then supposed to come into full action.
Such being the nature of a chapter, two questions arise, -whether doctor Bishop and doctor Smith had a right to appoint a chapter, -and whether the chapter so appointed subsisted beyond the lives of the prelates, who appointed them.
Now it seems to be admitted that, according to the discipline of the catholic church, a bishop in ordinary of a see, in which there is no chapter, has an inherent authority to establish one ; and that the
* Pallavicini, Hist. Conc. Pred. lib. xxii. cap. iii. n. 6.
chapter so appointed will be invested, in the instant of its establishment, with all the qualities and powers, which belong to chapters of common right. Such being the inherent authority of a bishop in ordinary, and the prelates, whom we have mentioned, having all the authority of such a bishop, it seems to follow, that they had the power of appointing a chapter. It is true that the powers of the prelates were only delegated : but the powers delegated to them were those, of a bishop in ordinary; they had therefore a delegated power of appointing a chapter: the difference was, that the ordinary would have appointed the chapter, in virtue of the right inherent to his see; but the two vicars apostolic appointed it in virtue of a power delegated to them, among the general powers, with which they were invested.
The question then is, of what see, or of what prelate they were the chapter ? Confessedly not of the see of Chalcedon, or of its bishop, so far as he was the ordinary of that see. They formed, therefore, a chapter exercising capitular jurisdiction in the territory, over which the prelates were authorized by the holy see to exercise ordinary jurisdiction, and the chapter was invested with the stability and permanency, with which it would have been invested, if it had been founded by an actual bishop in ordinary ; still, liable, however, to be suspended or extinguished by the pope. This,- for we are not now discussing extreme cases, -was another material distinction between the chapters appointed by the two bishops, and the chapter of a bishop in ordinary.
Between the formation of the chapter, and the appointment of vicars apostolic, in the reign of James II, the dean and chapter exercised numerous acts of capitular jurisdiction. In fifty-three instances, they have addressed, by that style, the holy see, or its congregations, its cardinals, and its nuncios; and received communications from them. The popes frequently mentioned and never disapproved of them.—We have cited the congratulatory letter of the consult of cardinals to doctor Bishop, on his establishment of the chapter. It is observable that, on the arrival of the infanta of Portugal, afterwards the queen of Charles II, at Portsmouth, the lord Aubigné, a priest, obtained the leave of the dean to marry them, and afterwards performed the ceremony.
The notarial act of their marriage, stated that it was solemnized by virtue of faculties derived from the chapter ; it was signed by all the persons present, and five copies of it taken.-His
the archbishop of Canterbury, then declared them to be lawfully married *; but they were never in a protestant church, or by a protestant clergyman.
* See the “ Abstract of the Transactions relating to the
English secular clergy," in which all these circumstances are methodically collected.