The King's Achievement eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 517 pages of information about The King's Achievement.
had bidden His followers to render to God the things that were God’s; that St. Peter was crucified sooner than obey Nero—­and the Prior cried out for silence; and that he could not hear his Christian King likened to the heathen emperor.  Monk after monk would rise; one following his Prior, and disclaiming personal learning and responsibility; another with ironic deference saying that a man’s soul was his own, and that not even a Religious Superior could release from the biddings of conscience; another would balance himself between the parties, declaring that the distinction of duties was insoluble; that in such a case as this it was impossible to know what was due to God and what to man.  Yet another voice would rise from time to time declaring that the tales that they heard were incredible; that it was impossible that the King should intend such evil against the Church; he still heard his three masses a day as he had always done; there was no more ardent defender of the Sacrament of the Altar.

Chris used to steady himself in this storm of words as well as he could, by reflecting that he probably would not have to make a decision, for it would be done for him, at least as regarded his life in the convent or out, by his superiors.  Or again he would fix his mind resolutely on his approaching priesthood; while the Prior sat gnawing his lips, playing with his cross and rapping his foot, before bursting out again and bidding them all be silent, for they knew not what they were meddling with.

The misery rose to its climax when the Injunctions arrived; and the chapter sat far into the morning, meeting again after dinner to consider them.

These were directions, issued to the clergy throughout the country, by the authority of the King alone; and this very fact was significant of what the Royal Supremacy meant.  Some of them did not touch the Religious, and were intended only for parish-priests; but others were bitterly hard to receive.

The community was informed that in future, once in every quarter, a sermon was to be preached against the Bishop of Rome’s usurped power; the Ten Articles, previously issued, were to be brought before the notice of the congregation; and careful instructions were to be given as regards superstition in the matter of praying to the saints.  It was the first of these that caused the most strife.

Dom Anthony, who was becoming more and more the leader of the conservative party, pointed out that the See of Peter was to every Catholic the root of authority and unity, and that Christianity itself was imperilled if this rock were touched.

The Prior angrily retorted that it was not the Holy See that was to be assaulted, but the erection falsely raised upon it; it was the abuse of power, not the use of it that had to be denounced.

Dom Anthony requested the Prior to inform him where the line of distinction lay; and the Prior in answer burst into angry explanations, instancing the pecuniary demands of the Pope, the appointment of foreigners to English benefices, and all the rest of the accusations that were playing such a part now in the religious controversy of the country.

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The King's Achievement from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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