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(2007-10-24 10:58:54)



He was succeeded by the young and learned John de’ Medici, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent of Florence, who took the name of Leo X. (1513-21). Like his father, the new Pope was a generous patron of art and literature, and bestowed upon his literary friends, some of whom were exceedingly unworthy, the highest dignities in the Church. Humanism was triumphant at the Papal Court, but, unfortunately, religion was neglected. Though in his personal life Leo X. could not be described as a deeply religious man, yet he was mindful of his vows of celibacy, attentive to the recitation of the divine, office, abstemious, and observant of the fasts of the Church. As a secular ruler he would have stood incomparably higher than any of the contemporary sovereigns of Europe, but he was out of place considerably as the head of a great religious organisation. Worldliness and indifference to the dangers that threatened the Church are the most serious charges that can be made against him, but especially in the circumstances of the time, when the Holy See should have set itself to combat the vicious tendencies of society, these faults were serious enough.

The defeat of the French forces at Novara (1513), and the loyalty of the other rulers of Europe to the Holy See induced Louis XII. of France to make peace with the new Pope, and to recognise the Lateran Council. But on the accession of Francis I. (1515-47) a fresh expedition into Italy was undertaken; the Swiss troops were overthrown at Marignano (1515) and Leo X. was obliged to conclude a Concordat3 with the French King. By the terms of this agreement France agreed to abandon the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, while the Pope bestowed upon Francis I. and his successors the right of presentation to the bishoprics and abbacies in his dominions. The work of reform, which should have claimed special attention at the Lateran Council, was never undertaken seriously. Some decrees were passed prohibiting plurality of benefices, forbidding officials of the Curia to demand more than the regulation fees, recommending preaching and religious instruction of children, regulating the appointment to benefices, etc., but these decrees, apart from the fact that they left the root of the evils untouched, were never enforced. The close of the Lateran Council synchronises with the opening of Luther’s campaign in Germany, for the success of which the Council’s failure to respond to the repeated demands for reform is to a great extent responsible.

In any scheme for the reform of the abuses that afflicted the Church the reformation of the Papal Court itself should have occupied the foremost place. At all times a large proportion of the cardinals and higher officials were men of blameless lives, but, unfortunately, many others were utterly unworthy of their position, and their conduct was highly prejudicial to religion and to the position of the Holy See. Much of the scandalous gossip retailed by Platina in his Lives of the Popes, and by Burcard4 and Infessura5 in their Diaries may be attributed to personal disappointment and diseased imaginations, but even when due allowance has been made for the frailty of human testimony, enough remains to prove that the Papal Court in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was not calculated to inspire strangers to Rome with confidence or respect. Such corrupt and greedy officials reflected discredit on the Holy See, and afforded some justification for the charges levelled against them of using religion merely as a means of raising money.

The various taxations,6 direct and indirect, levied by the Popes during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries helped to give colour to these accusations. It ought to be remembered, however, that the Popes could not carry on the government of the Church, and support the large body of officials whose services were absolutely necessary, without requiring help from their subjects in all parts of the world. During the residence of the Popes at Avignon additional expenses were incurred owing to the necessity of providing residences for themselves and their court, and, at the same time, the rebellions and disorders in the Papal States put an end to any hope of deriving any revenue from their own temporal dominions. On their return to Rome money was required to repair the palaces that had gone into ruin, and to enable the Popes to maintain their position as patrons of art and literature, and as the leaders of Europe in its struggle against the forces of Islam.

For this last purpose, namely, to organise the Christian forces against the Turks, the Popes claimed the right of levying a fixed tax on all ecclesiastical property. The amount of this varied from one-thirtieth to one-tenth of the annual revenue, and as a rule it was raised only for some definite period of years. Even in the days when the crusading fever was universal, such a tax excited a great deal of opposition; but when Europe had grown weary of the struggle, and when the Popes could do little owing to the failure of the temporal rulers to respond to their appeals, this form of taxation was resented bitterly, and the right of the Popes to raise taxes in this way off ecclesiastical property was questioned by the ecclesiastics affected as well as by the temporal rulers. England and France took measures to protect themselves; but in Germany the absence of any strong central authority, and the want of unity among the princes made it difficult to offer any effective resistance to these demands. In 1354, 1372, 1459, 1487, and in 1500, the German bishops protested strongly against the attempts of the Pope to levy taxes on ecclesiastical property.





基于上述最后一个任务,即组织基督力量对抗土耳其,教皇宣称要对所有教属物业政审固定税额。年税率在什一至三什一不等,但这项税收只在特定时间征收。即便是在十字军全球风靡时期,这项税收也遭到了强烈抵制。待到欧洲人开始意识斗争的重要性,而教皇又对世俗君主的抗命又无能为力之时,这项税收就更加饱受抨击了。不仅是相关的神职人员,就连世俗君主们也开始过问教皇用征收物权税的方式提高税收。法国和英国采取措施自保,而德国因为缺乏强力的中央政府,贵族们又专注于统一,就很难对这些要求做出有效抵制。但在1354年, 1372年, 1459年, 1487年, 和 1500年, 德国主教还是对教皇征收教属物权税的企图提出了强烈抗议。


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