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Bishops and Reform in the English Church, 1520-1559

Bishops and Reform in the English Church, 1520-1559

KENNETH CARLETON
Volume: 3
Copyright Date: 2001
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 236
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt81w9v
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  • Book Info
    Bishops and Reform in the English Church, 1520-1559
    Book Description:

    The English bishops played a crucial role in the process of Reformation in the sixteenth century, from the first arrival of continental Reformed thought to the virtual extinction of the office in 1559. This work has at its core the bishops' own understanding of the episcopate, drawn from their surviving writings and other contemporary discussions; such a study is key to understanding what became of the English Church of the middle ages and what it was to become under Elizabeth. Carleton examines the interplay between bishop and king, the episcopate in the context of other orders, and the social context of the office; he studies episcopal activity in key areas such as preaching, ordaining, and opposing heresy; and he notes the influence of the models which the bishops themselves set up as ideals, most notably Christ himself as the ideal bishop. The backgrounds of the bishops are set out in the appendix.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-029-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-vii)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-6)

    The office of bishop was central to the Church from its earliest days. By the second century, the fundamental structural principle of the local ecclesial community was that of a single bishop, surrounded by a college of clergy, who together governed and served the people of the local Church or diocese. Together the bishops ruled and governed the whole Church, binding it together in unity (Cyprian called the bishops its ‘glue’). Though splits and schisms appeared over the next fourteen hundred years, the greatest and most enduring being the Great Schism between east and west in the eleventh century, the...

  7. Chapter One THEOLOGIES OF EPISCOPACY IN MID-TUDOR ENGLAND
    (pp. 7-42)

    Throughout the later Middle Ages the appointment of bishops to English sees took place as a result of mutual co-operation between the king and the pope. The fourteenth-century Statute of Provisors had rejected papal claims to appoint directly to bishoprics. The bishop was too important a figure in government to be left entirely to the nomination of the pope. The free election of bishops had been conceded to cathedral chapters by Henry I in the twelfth century, but with the king’s effective veto of an unsuitable candidate the choice passed in practice largely into the hands of the Crown. The...

  8. Chapter Two MODELS OF EPISCOPAL OFFICE
    (pp. 43-60)

    Three passages from the Pastoral Epistles, 1 Timothy 3:1–7 and 4:14, 2 Timothy 1:6–7, and Titus 1:7–9, appear again and again in discussions of the office of bishop during the period of the Reformation in England. They also find their place in all the rites of episcopal consecration, and are often quoted in prayers central to the action of consecrating. Subject to varying interpretations, they supported a number of conflicting definitions of the essence of episcopacy. Amongst the Church Fathers, the writings and example of Augustine and Cyprian seem to have been most important as model bishops...

  9. Chapter Three BISHOPS OF THE ENGLISH CHURCH 1520–1559
    (pp. 61-80)

    During the period from 1520 to 1559, key changes of episcopal personnel took place which provided successive monarchs with the opportunity to change the character of the bench of bishops according to the needs of religion or state, or to reward royal servants for their part in their ruler’s designs. The first decade, from 1520 to 1530, was a time of comparative stability, with few vacancies occurring for the appointment of new diocesan bishops. The second decade, particularly around the years 1532–36, was one in which most dioceses had a change of bishop. Even disregarding the few deprivations for...

  10. Chapter Four THE BISHOP AND PREACHING
    (pp. 81-98)

    The subject of preaching, and its practice by the bishops of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, is one which demonstrated a separation of theory and practice. The centrality of the ministry of the Word in the exercise of episcopal functions was frequently acknowledged in theory and more frequently disregarded in practice. Many ecclesiastical Reformers complained of clergy, and bishops in particular, who failed to exercise a preaching ministry. The revival of the study of the sacred languages and a desire to return to the sources of revelation and of secular literature, characteristics of that intellectual movement which advocated what...

  11. Chapter Five BISHOPS AND THE PROVISION OF EDUCATION
    (pp. 99-116)

    If the bishops were to be the prime movers in the preaching of the Word in their dioceses, they needed to be supported by a learned and educated body of clergy equipped fully for the task. The educational shortcomings of the clergy were a source of almost universal concern amongst the early reformers, in England as much as on the Continent. In 1528 William Tyndale complained of the English clergy that

    they wot no more what the New or Old Testament meaneth, than do the Turks: neither know they of any more than that they read at mass, matins, and...

  12. Chapter Six PRAYER AND SACRIFICE: THE LIFE OF THE BISHOP
    (pp. 117-131)

    By the end of the Middle Ages it was generally accepted that the holding of episcopal office included the obligation to exercise hospitality. Three scriptural texts, 1 Timothy 3:5, Romans 12:13 and Hebrews 13:2, informed much late medieval thinking on this requirement. Paul’s first letter to Timothy was used in the sixteenth century on both sides of the Reformation divide to support conflicting models of episcopal office, the specific verse mentioned being applied to the debate over clerical celibacy. If a bishop could not demonstrate his ability to govern his household, how could he be able to govern the Church?...

  13. Chapter Seven EPISCOPAL ACTIVITY I: THE ERADICATION OF HERESY
    (pp. 132-155)

    The role of the bishop as the guarantor of the faith, the focus of unity, and the guardian against heresy and schism, is one which has a long history. As early as the third century, Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, wrote to Cornelius, Bishop of Rome, that

    heresies arise and schisms come to birth only because God’s bishop is not obeyed, and people overlook the fact that in a church there is only one who, here and now, is deputizing for Christ as priest and judge.¹

    In his tract De ecclesiae catholicae unitate, he understood the bishops to be the glue...

  14. Chapter Eight EPISCOPAL ACTIVITY II: THE PROPAGATION OF THE MINISTRY
    (pp. 156-178)

    From the earliest times, bishops in the Church have set apart others to share in their ministry of oversight and pastoral care. In the consecration of new bishops they ensured the continuation of their office, while the ordination of suitable candidates to the priesthood, diaconate and other ministries in the Church ensured that sacramental functions and pastoral care were available to the laity at large. Such ordinations were carried out by the diocesan bishop, or by another bishop acting with his authority and by his permission. The ordination of candidates to the minor orders, and on occasions to the subdiaconate,...

  15. Chapter Nine CONCLUSION: THE OLD EPISCOPATE IN A NEW ORDER
    (pp. 179-187)

    By the end of November 1559, the episcopate in England and Wales had all but died out. The virtual extinction of the office in the realm was a serious problem for a monarch committed to an episcopal polity. When the first Elizabethan bishop came to be consecrated in December, no bishop in legal possession of an English or Welsh see (as required by the restored 1533 Appointment of Bishops Act) could be found to perform the consecration. Matthew Parker, Elizabeth’s first Archbishop of Canterbury, was responsible for the continuation of episcopacy in the English Church through a series of appointments...

  16. APPENDIX I: PROSOPOGRAPHY OF THE BISHOPS IN OFFICE 1520–1559
    (pp. 188-201)
  17. APPENDIX II: THE DIOCESES
    (pp. 202-204)
  18. APPENDIX III: THE EDUCATION OF THE BISHOPS
    (pp. 205-206)
  19. APPENDIX IV: THE BISHOPS OF SODOR AND MAN
    (pp. 207-208)
  20. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 209-218)
  21. Index of Scriptural References
    (pp. 219-219)
  22. General Index
    (pp. 220-226)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 227-227)