A Certain Tract on Confessions
Tractatus de penitentia et confessione or De confessionibus
MSS: Aberdeen U. 137, BM Royal 8.B.IV, Balliol 228, Bod. 634, f. 1 (SC 2252); Bod. Douce, 88.


 Since penance consists of three things — contrition of heart, confession by words, and satisfaction through works — the first thing to ask someone coming to confession is whether he is sorry that he sinned, because without contrition of the heart sin can never be remitted. If he says that he is sorry then the priest may proceed to hear the confession; if he says that he is not sorry he should be sent away as an obstinate sinner.

Quidam tractatus de confessionibus.

Cum penitentia consistat in tribus, in cordis contritione, oris confessione, operis satisfactione, primo querendum est ab illo qui venit ad confessionem si dolet se peccasse, quia sine contritione cordisk numquam remittitur peccatum. Si dicat quod dolet, procedatur usque ad confessionem. Si dicat quod non dolet, tamquam contumax repellatur.

To hear a confession proceed in this manner, saying: “Brother or sister, you wish to be confessed of your sins. Do you have it in mind that hereafter, insofar as you can with the grace of God, you will not sin mortally?” If he says “I do not,” then say to him that his confession is worthless. For thus says the wise man: “He that shall confess his sins, and forsake them, shall obtain mercy” [Prov. 28:13]. Someone may be understood to relinquish sin who has it in mind not to sin again with the grace of God.

Circa confessionem hoc modo procedendum est: Frater vel soror, tu vis confiteri peccata tua. Habes tu in voluntate ut decetero non pecces mortaliter in quantum poteris per gratiam dei. Si dicat: Non habeo, dicatur tunc ei quod confessio sua nulla est. Quia ita dicit sapiens : Qui confessus fuerit peccata sua et reliquerit ea, misericordiam consequetur. Ille intelligitur relinquere qui habet in voluntate per gratiam dei decetero non committere.

Continue with the confession in this manner: Say to the penitent that there are chiefly three things that usually hinder someone from making a true confession: the pleasure of sin, the fear of the punishment that will follow, and shame. But a priest should explain how brief the pleasure of sin is due to which [the sinner] loses the reward of eternal joy. Against the fear of punishment that the penitent has, let the priest show him that unless he does penance in this life, his sin will be punished with eternal pains. Against his shame, show him that shame is the greatest part of penance. Therefore, he ought not to hold back because of his shame since he is telling his sin not to a man but to God who examines both the heart and the mind. Let him speak, therefore, in the Lord’s name. Having heard all these things, the priest should ask him whether he has examined his conscience. If he says yes, then let him proceed to confess. If he says no, then the priest should supply those things that the penitent omits, just as it is written: “The just is first accuser of himself: his friend comes and shall search him” [Prov. 18:17].

Circa confessionem hoc modo procedatur. Dicatur confitenti quod tria sunt precipue que solent impedire hominem veram facere cortfessionem: delectatio peccati, timor penea iniungende, et pudor. Set debet sacerdos ostendere quam brevis est delectatio peccati propter quam amittitb premium eterni gaudii. Contra timorem quem habet de penitentia, debet ostenderee quod nisi peniteat hic,il peccatum punietur eterna pena. Contra pudorem debet ostendere quod pudor est maxima pars penitentie. Propterea,e propter pudorem non debet dimittere,f quia peccata sua non dicit homini set deo, qui scrutatur renes et corda. Dicat ergo in nomine domini. Auditis omnibus debet querere ab eo si plura reducit ad memoriam. Si dicit quod sic, dicat ergo. Si dicit quod non, tunc debet sacerdos supplere deffectum confitentis, iuxta quod scriptum est: Iustus in principio accusator est sui; venit amicus eius et investigabit eum.

The just man (that is, the penitent) first ought to accuse himself. Afterwards his friend (that is, the priest) ought to inquire about those sins he omitted.

Iustus, id est confitens, primo debet accusare seipsum.Postea amicus, id est sacerdos, debet investigare peccata que omisit.

If he is a layman, the priest should first ask whether he is married or single. If he is married, he should be asked whether he believes his marriage is legitimate — in other words, that between him and his wife there is no common paternity, consanguinity, or spiritual affinity, or any other marital impediment — and whether they legitimately contracted their marriage before the church. If he finds that this is not so, the priest should consult the archdeacon or the bishop.

Si laicus est, querendum est primo an sit coniugatus vel solutus; et si sit [fo. 2v] coniugatus, querendum est si credat legitimum esse matrimonium, scilicet quod ibi non sit compaternitas, consanguinitas, vel affinitas, vel aliquod aliud impedimentum, et si legitime contraxerunt in facie ecclesie. Si non inveniat ita esse, recurrat sacerdos ad archidiaconum vel episcopum.

Next the penitent should be asked what his occupation is. If he is a merchant — man or woman — he should see to it that he does not use false weights or measures. And if he has used false measures, he is bound to make restitution through the hands of the priest to the one he deceived. If he cannot remember whom he deceived, the ill-gotten money should be given to the poor at the discretion of the church. Lay people should generally be asked about their tithing because if they have tithed badly (as they are ac¬customed to do) they should seek pardon from the rector of the church either personally or through another if they are ashamed to do so themselves. A priest should particularly ask knights (milites) and those who are in charge of households (especially of poor servants) whether they have unjustly taken anything from those under them which they ought to give back.

Item, queratur cuius officii sit. Si mercator, masculus vel femina, videat quod non habeat pondus et pondus, non h mensuram et mensuram; et si falso mensuraverit, tenetur ilIi restituere quem decepit per manum sacerdotis. Si illum non cognoscat, detur pauperibus iudicio ecclesie. A laicis generaliter querendum est de decimis quia, si male decimaverint decimas que consuetei sunt, debent a rectore ecclesie petere veniam vel per se vel per alium si erubuerintk per se. A militibus maxime querendum est et ab illis qui habent sub se familias, videlicet pauperes servos, si aliquid ab eis habuerint iniuste, quod eis debent restituere.

Priests should ask penitents, whether married or single, about the seven deadly sins and deal with them according to what is contained above in the tract on the seven sins [omitted here]. And everyone should especially be asked about bearing false witness. Women should be asked about using poisons and sorcery. Single people should be asked whether they are willing to live chastely until they take a spouse; otherwise their confession has no value. Similarly, married people should be asked about the carnal sins they committed before they were married. They should be made aware that due to the obligation owed to nature, they should have relations with their wives; otherwise they sin against marriage.

Sive vero fuerit solutus sive coniugatus, querendum estrn de vii criminalibus peccatis, et secundum quod continetur in scripto de illis peccatis procedendum est. Et circa nullam personam omittatur quin precipue queratur de falso testimonio, circa mulieres maxime de veneficiis et sortilegiis. Circa solutos querendum est si velinta vivere continenter quoadusqueb habeant coniugatas; alioquin non valet confessio. Et similiter de coniugatis querendum est de peccatis carnis que commiserunt ante matrimonium, et sciendum est c quod secundum debitum nature debent propriis uti uxoribus; aliterd peccant in matrimonio.

A priest should make a brief interrogation of those whose flesh is weak in the following manner: “Either you knew that the woman whom you approached for sex was unmarried or you didn’t. If you knew she was single, you are due a lesser penance; if you didn’t know then you are obliged to do a greater penance because she might have been a married woman, a nun, or related to you through affinity, or she may have had relations with your father.” (Likewise, prostitutes are prone to lie with lepers which can endanger their unborn children or their own health.) Also, they should be asked about the number of people they sinned with and the number of times if they can remember. Also whether they had sexual relations with widows who have taken religious vows, with virgins, with married people, or with nuns. Then they should be asked whether it was with a professed nun because those who have relations with nuns must be sent to the bishop for absolution since a bishop customarily excommunicates such people. If perhaps they do not wish to go to the bishop, the priest should go to the bishop and get his authorization. Likewise, if they had sexual relations with someone related to them by blood or through a spiritual affinity they should be asked in what degree they are related: removed or near. They should be asked whether they had sexual relations with a pregnant woman or a menstruating woman (which is dangerous due to the child that is born since a corrupted fetus is conceived by corrupted semen). Likewise, whether they had relations with a woman near childbirth, for then there is a danger that the infant could be killed. Also ask them whether they had relations with another man or with animals. And this penance should be enjoined on those who had relations with animals above and beyond any other penances that are enjoined: they must never eat that animal’s meat. To sum it up briefly: Whenever semen is spilled it is a mortal sin except if it happens when one is sleeping or with one’s own wife (and then this must be done legitimately according to the needs of nature). According to the diversity of the circumstances a variety of penances should be enjoined.

Circa lubricum carnis hoc modo brevitere fiat inquisitio: Aut scivisti illam ad quarn accessisti esse solutam, aut nescivisti. Si scivisti, minor penitentia iniungenda est ; si nescivisti, tunc maior penitentia iniungenda est ; quia forte poteratf esse coniugata, monialis, affinis, a parentibus tuis cognita ; item, meretrices solent supponere se leprosis, et inde poteritg periculum esse in partu et in proprio corpore. Item, querendum est de numero personarum et de vicibus, si habeantur in memoria. Item, si cum viduis, que sunt ecclesiastice persone, si cum virginibus, si cum coniugatis, si cum sanctimonialibus ; et tunc querendum est si fuerit sanctimonialisi benedicta, et tales mittantur ad episcopum, quia episcopusk tales solet excomunicare. Si forte noluerinr ire ad [fo. 3r] episcopum, eat sacerdos ad episcopum et habeat eius auctoritatem. Item, si ad consanguineas vel affines, queratur in quo gradu, in remoto vel propinquo. Si in puerperio vel in menstruo sanguine, ubi est periculum propter prolem, quia ex corrupto semine nascitur corruptus fetus. Item, si cum muliere propinqua partui, quia tunc est periculum; posset enim partus interfici.n Item, si cum masculis. Si cum iumentis. Et hec penitentia iniungatur eis qui cum iumentis, preter alia que debent iniungi, quod numquam edant de carne illa. Et ut breviter concludam; quocumque modo semen emittatur nisi dormiendo vel cum propria uxore, et hoc fiat legitime secundum exigentiam nature, mortale peccatum est, et secundum diversitates circumstantiarum diverse iniungende sunt° penitentie.

It is not proper to ask all of these questions of everyone, but the priest should make these inquiries as God inspires him. There should be one general rule: those consenting to commit mortal sins, whoever they are, sin mortally, although never so gravely as those actually committing the sin. But if restitution is appropriate, one who consents to the sin is obliged to make restitution; and someone who consents to fornication — whether man or woman — should be punished the same as someone committing [this] mortal sin.

Non oportet omnes istas inquisitiones circa omnes personas facere; set secundum quod deus inspiraverit sacerdos debet inquirere. Sit unum generale: quod consentientes mortalibus peccatis, quecumque sint illa, mortaliter peccant, quamvis non ita graviter aliquando sicut facientes. Set si competit restitutio, consentiens in dampnum debet restituere, et consentiens fornicatori, sive masculus sive femina,a puniri debet tamquam pro mortali.

Here is how to deal with gluttony and drunkenness. These conditions should be born in mind for gluttony: [eating food] too soon, too lavishly, too much, too eagerly, too daintily. Too soon means in the manner of Jonathan, son of Saul, who ate before the appointed hour and so sinned gravely [1 Kings 14:27]. Too lavishly, as the Jews in the desert who, not content with manna, asked the Lord for meat [Num. 11:4-6]. Too much, as the Sodomites, whose sin was an abundance of bread [Ez. 16:49]. Too eagerly, as Esau, who ate a common thing (lentils) too eagerly and as a result sold his birthright [Gen. 25:34]. Daintily, as the sons of Eli, who were too painstaking over their food [1 Kings 2:13-15]. These vices should always be avoided, but especially during Lent.

Circa crapulam et ebrietatem hoc modo procedendum est. Circa crapulamb attenduntur iste circumstantie: Prepropere, laute, nimis, ardenter, studiose. Prepropere, ut filius Saul Ionathas, qui ante horam comedit et ideo graviter peccavit. Laute, ut iudei in deserto, qui petierunt carnes a domino, non contenti manna. Nimis, ut sodomite, quorum peccatum fuit habundantia panis. Ardenter, ut Esau, qui vilem rem, scilicet lenticulam, nimis ardentere comedit, in tantum quod propter illam vendidit primogenita sua. Studiose, ut filii Heli qui nimium apparatum fecerunt circa cibos suos. Hec vitanda sunt omni tempore, set precipue in Quadragesima.

Drunkenness, if it is habitual, is a mortal sin. Thus, the Apostle says “Drunkards will not possess the kingdom of God” [1 Cor. 6:10], that is, those habitually drunk. And learned men sensibly judge as drunk those whose wits or senses are scrambled due to too much drinking. In fact, certain authorities say that getting drunk even once is a mortal sin if someone deliberately, with immoderate excess, consumes more food or drink than he thinks useful for his nature; to the contrary, it burdens his nature. But I do not presume to define what this limit is. However, it should be noted that not every excess beyond what is licit is a mortal sin: only that which is immoderate and frequent is mortally sinful. This is what Augustine says in one book of his Confessions: “Who is the man who does not sometimes exceed the limits of what is necessary? If such a man exists, he is great; let him magnify God. I am not that kind of man; I am a sinner” [Conf 10, 31].

Ebrietas, si fuerit assueta, mortale peccatum est. Unde apostolus : Ebriosi non possidebunt regnum dei, id est, consueti ebrietati. Cum etiam iudicantd sapientes ebrium quie propter excessum potus incurrit turbationem capitis vel sensuum sensibiliter, immo dicunt quidam quod etiamg in casu unica ebrietas [fo. ra] est mortale peccatum, quando aliquis ex deliberatione plus quam credatb expedire nature, immo potius gravare naturam, sumit cibum vel potum cum excessu immoderato. Istud non audeo diffinire. Et notandum est quod non quilibet excessus circa licita est mortalis, set immoderatus eti frequens. Unde Augustinus in libro Confessionum: Quis est qui metas necessitatis non excedat aliquando. Si quis, magnus est; magnificet deum. Ego non sum talis; peccator sum.

Generally in every confession the circumstances that are noted in this phrase should be considered: Who, what, where, with whose help, why, how, and when. Who means to consider what sort of person [the sinner is], whether a cleric or a layman; if a cleric, whether regular [i.e., monastic] or secular; whether he holds some high office or not; whether he is in [major] sacred orders or not. If he is a member of a religious order, at what level of profession is he? Consider whether he is young or old, whether he is of servile status or free. What means that the type of sin must be considered: whether it is simple fornication, or adultery, or incest, whether it was committed with clerics, because the type of sin aggravates the gravity of the sin. Where means to consider where the sin was committed: on consecrated ground or not. With whose help means to consider which things were done willingly, which were compelled; whether something was done wholly from one’s own will or whether with another’s counsel or threat; whether it happened by chance or with deliberation. Many other things could be asked. Why means to consider the end for which something was done. Usually three ends can be distinguished: a useful one, an honest one, and an enjoyable one. Many people commit sins for useful ends; many people commit sins for enjoyable ones; but no one can commit a sin for an honest end. How means to consider the diverse means that accompany various types of sin. The diverse means that accompany sins of the flesh should be quite apparent from what was said above; inquiry is especially needed for these. When means to consider the time when the sin was committed: whether during Lent, whether on a feast (lay or on the eve of a feast. And if it happened on a feast day, consider that if it was during a major feast then there should be a suitable penance — for instance, that the penitent fast on bread and water during the vigil of the solemnity of the feast, especially if he committed a sin of the flesh.

Generaliter in omni confessione considerande sunt iste circumstantie que notantur per hunc versum: Quis, quid, ubi, quibus auxiliis, cur, quomodo, quando. Quis: cuiusmodia persona, si clericus vel laicus. Si clericus, utrum regularis vel secularis. Si in dignitate constitutus vel extra. Si in sacris ordinibus vel extra. Si religiosus, cuius sit professionis. Si iuvenis vel senex. Si servus vel liber. Quid: considerandum est genus peccati. Utrum fornicatio simplex vel adulterium vel incestus, ut in clericis, quia genus peccatib aggravat quantitatem peccati. Ubi: in quo loco, sacro vel non sacro. Quibus auxiliis: quibus scientibus, quibus impellentibus. Utrum tantum ex propria voluntate vel alieno consilio vel monitione. Utrum casu vel deliberatione. enim aliac possunt inquiri. Cur: propter quem finem. Solet autem triplex distingui finis, utile, honestum, delectabile. Multi committunt peccata propter utilitatem, multi propter delectationem; nullus potest committere peccatumd propter honestatem. Quomodo : modi diversi attenduntur secundum diversa genera peccatorum. De quibus [fo. ]modis satis patete circa lubricum carnis per ea que dicta sunt, et ibi maxime necessaria est inquisitio. Quando : in quo tempore, utrum in Quadragesima vel extra, utrum diebus festivis vel profestis; et si in diebusg festivis, puta quod in magnis festivitatibus,i tunc esset competens penitentia utk in vigilia illius sollempnitatisl ieiunet in pane et aqua, maximem si peccaverit in lubrico carnis.

The interrogation of a member of the clergy should proceed in this manner: The priest should determine whether the cleric was born from a legitimate marriage and is of free status. He should find out what sacred order [of the seven] he is in and how he received holy orders, whether legitimately, secretly, or through simony, and if he received them from his own bishop. If he received sacred orders secretly a bishop can give him dispensation unless he said “Under pain of excommunication we forbid anyone from receiving sacred orders who is not legitimately presented.” Pope Innocent III considered a cleric to be excommunicated in this case only; in other instances it is a warning. A bishop cannot give dispensation to someone in the first case, nor can he dispense a simoniac; only the pope can do this. Also ask a cleric whether he received a benefice out of regard for God; if it was because of God, does he hold it in order to promote the salvation of souls? If not, he should cleanse his soul, and if he entered the benefice without the taint of simony, he may keep it, but he should be fearful nonetheless.

Circa personam clerici sic est procedendum : Querendum est an sit de legitimo matrimonio et libere conditionis, et in quo ordine, et quomodo recepit ordines, utrum legitime vel furtive vel simoniace, si a suo episcopo proprio. Si furtive receperit, episcopus potest dispensare cum eo nisi dixerit : Inhibemus sub pena excommunicationis ne aliquis accedat ad ordines nisi legitime presentatus. In hoc solo casu reputat Innocentius tertiusr esse excommunicationem, in aliis comminationem; et ideo non potest episcopus dispensare cum eon nec cum simoniaco, set solus papa. Item, queratur a clerico si propter deum datum fuerit ei beneficium, et si propter deum teneat et pro salute animarum. Si non,P purget animum, et si sine simonia ingressus est, teneat illud, timeat tamen.

What follows concerns satisfaction. Because penances ought to be arbitrary, we will not define for you any specific penances which you should enjoin. Still, you should know that satisfaction chiefly has three elements: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Thus, Tobias says: “Prayer is good with fasting and almsgiving” [Tob. 12:8]. Prayer, if it has these two wings, fasting and almsgiving, is like a bird that flies on high. Fasting is valuable against carnal vices and should be imposed for sins of the flesh. Prayer should be directed for spiritual sins. Thus, [St.] Jerome says: “Fasting heals the plagues of the body; prayer, the plagues of the mind. Almsgiving avails against all sins.” And thus says Daniel: “Redeem thou thy sins with alms” [Dan. 4:24]; it ought to be enjoined for all sins. You should take care, therefore, that you do not give leave to those foolish doctors who hope to cure every illness with one ointment: what does not heal the eye heals the foot. Indeed, just as we once yielded our members as slaves of iniquity unto iniquity, so now we should yield them as slaves of justice unto sanctification [see Rom. 6:19]. For instance, if someone sinned with his mouth by making false pleas or swearing falsely, he should be directed to pray and to defend the poor against those whom he helped defraud them in honest lawsuits. Or if someone sinned by being miserly, because of his greed he should be directed to give alms generously. If he sinned by wickedly fighting against the innocent, he should be directed to fight against the dangerous, namely heretics and Saracens. If he sinned through the loins, direct him to gird his loins with a leather belt [Mk. 4:6] and to fast and remove that which nourishes lust.

Sequitur de satisfactione. Quia penitentie arbitrarie sunt, non diffinimus vobis aliquasP certas penitentias quas debetis iniungere. Hoc tamen sciatis quod satisfactio consistit in tribus precipue: ieiunio, oratione, elemosina. Unde Tobias : Bona est oratioq cum ieiunio et eletnosina. Oratio est quasi avis que volat in altum, si habet istas duas alas, ieiunium et elemosinam. Ieiunium valet contra vitia carnalia [fo. Ca] et debet iniungi pro carnalibus peccatis, oratio pro spiritualibus. Unde Ieronimus: Ieiunio sanantur pestes corporis, oratione pestes mentis. Elemosina valet ad omnia. Unde:la Redime elemosinis peccata tua ; et hocb debet iniungi pro omnibus peccatis. Videatis ergo ne sitis insipientes medici qui voluntc uno collirio omnes morbos sanare. Non quod sanat oculum sanat calcaneum. Immo sicut exhibuimus mernbra nostra servire iniquitati, add iniquitatem, ita exibeamus eae servire iustitie, in sanctificationem. Verbi gratia, si quis peccaverit per os falso placitando vel falso iurando, iniungatur ei oratio et quod defendat pauperes contra quos deliquit in causis honestis. Item, si peccaverit avare retinendo, iniungatur ei elemosinarum largitio. Si peccaverit male pugnando contra innocentes, iniungatur ei quod pugnet contra nocentes, scilicet saracenos et hereticos. Si peccaverit per renes, iniungatur eif zona pellicea circa lumbos, et ieiunet et subtrahat pabulum luxurie.

And so for all types of sins, their opposites should be enjoined. Because the most common sin is gluttony, some kind of fasting should always be imposed as penance. And a priest should always ask all penitents whether they are under a sentence of excommunication for arson or for striking anyone in sacred orders [which incurred automatic excommunication]. However there are cases where striking a cleric does not incur the canonical sentence of excommunication; namely, if the cleric is a minor; if he is struck in a joking fashion; if a superior or a teacher strikes someone in order to discipline him; if the person struck is a degraded cleric; if an innocent person uses moderate force to repel an immoderate attack in self-defense; if someone discovers a cleric in a scandalous situation with his sister, mother, daughter, or wife and does not realize he is a cleric; if he is an apostate; if he is an agent administering the affairs of lay people; if a cleric interrupting the divine office is struck while being expelled from the church; if he is struck at the command of a clerical superior; or if he is struck while bearing arms in utter contempt of his clerical status. These distinctions should be made [in judging whether someone has violated the privilegium canonis].

Et ita de omnibus aliis Et quia generale vitium estg gule, semper aliquid indicatur de ieiunio. Item, semper queratur ab omnibus si sint excommunicati, vel propter incendium vel propter percussionemb alicuius religiose persone. Sunt autem casus in quibus non  incidunt in canonems si percutiant : scilicet, si minor fuerit qui percutit, si iocose, si prelatus vel magister corrigendo, si omnino depositus percutiatur, si vis vi repellatur incontinenti cum moderamine inculpate tutele, si cum sorore, matre, [fo. 4rb] filia, uxore turpiter inveniatur, si ignoret esse clericum, si fuerit apostata, si negotiator, personarum secularium procurationem gerens, si perturbatorema divini officii clericum ab ecclesia expellat, si mandato prelati hoc faciat, si ferat arma in contumeliam ordinis clericus percussus. Hic est tamen distinctio facienda

Furthermore, in the following cases, a person who strikes a cleric may be absolved by someone other than the pope: if a door-keeper under the pretext of carrying out his office maliciously injures a cleric; if the person who strikes the cleric is old, a woman, weak, poor, blind, or lame; or if because of war or some other cause the person cannot go to the pope. (But when these causes have stopped, he should still go to the pope for absolution.) Likewise, a dying person may be absolved by someone other than the pope; so may a cleric who lightly strikes another cleric. A serf may be so absolved if he deceitfully strikes a cleric so that by going to Rome for absolution he may remove himself from obedience to his lord or cause the lord himself to suffer a loss because of the absence of his servant. Also, a person in poor health may be absolved by someone other than the pope, as long as he is warned that he must go to the pope when he has recovered his health.

. Item, in istis casibus percussor clerici absolvitur ab alio quam a papa. Si hostiarius malignatus clericum leserit, si percussor senex fuerit, mulier, impotens, pauper, cecus, claudus, si propter inimicitiame vel aliam causam adire papam non potest. Ita tamen istis casibus cessantibus adeat papam.Item, in articulo mortis; item, si clericus clericum leviter percusserit; item, si servus in fraudem clericum percusserit ut se subtrahat ab obsequio domini,d vel si ipse dominus propter carentiam eiuse incurrat dampnum. Valitudinarius etiam potest absolvi ab alio quam a papa, prestita tamen cautione quod sanitate habita adibitg papam.

People who are excommunicated should be especially avoided in five circumstances: at the dining table, during prayers, in greetings, at the kiss of peace [during mass], and in conversation. Regarding those occasions that do not lead to excommunication, there are four in which people having contact with those who are excommunicated do not themselves incur excommunication: occasions of necessity, piety, utility, and ignorance. There are two kinds of necessity, one domestic and one circumstantial. Domestic necessity applies to those people for whom Pope Gregory VII made exceptions in the canon Quoniam multos [Decretum, C. 11, q. 3, c. 103]. These are wives, children, servants, etc. Circumstantial necessity applies to a pilgrim passing through a place where people are excommunicated who can find no one else from whom to buy the necessities of life.

Item, vitandi sunt excommunicati maxime in quinque: in mensa, oratione, salutatione,h osculo pacis, colloquio. De hiis que non pertinent ad excommunicationem quatuor sunt que a communicantibusJ excommunicatis excommunicationemk excludunt : necessitas, pietas, utilitas, ignorantia. Necessitas duplex, domestica vel adventitia : domestica, ut in personis illis quas excipit Gregorius," Quoniam multos, ut sunt uxores, filii, servi, etc. ; “adventitia est in peregrino per terram excommunicatorum transeunte, nec alias inveniente unde sibi emat vite necessaria ;

 [The following sentences are highly abbreviated in the original text.]


[An occasion of] piety [does not incur excommunication], if someone excommunicated is] about to perish [and] is saved through our help. [An occasion of] utility [does not incur the sentence], inasmuch as an excommunicated person should be admonished to make amends and those [wrong] things that he still upholds are discussed with [him]. [An occasion of] ignorance [means that someone may unknowingly have contact with an excommunicated person so long as his ignorance is] plausible [and not the result of] his indolence. Someone [has summed it up with these catchwords]: “Utility, wife, servant, law, humbly, things unknown and things necessary.” All of these things are, without prejudice, the opinions of a quite sensible man. Amen.

pietas in eo quod periturus nostro servaturq beneficio; utilitas, utr ad satisfactionem moneaturs et de hiis que adhuct suffragantur cum eis tractetur ;” ignorantia probabilis, non supina. Unde quidam : Utile, uxor, servus, lex, humile, res ignorata, necesse. Hec omniav sunt sinew preiudicio sententie sanioris. Amen.



This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 2006....x....  .