Handbook for Curates: A Late Medieval Manual on Pastoral Ministry

Handbook for Curates: A Late Medieval Manual on Pastoral Ministry

by Guido of Monte Rochen

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Overview

Guido of Monte Rochen's Handbook for Curates became the most popular pastoral manual at the close of the Middle Ages as thousands of copies were printed in Europe. Composed of a mixture of practical "how to" and theological instruction, the Handbook taught pastoral basics to everyday priests. As such, it is an essential and vibrant source on late medieval religion and parish practice, which this full-length translation makes available in English for the first time.

The Handbook is divided into three parts: sacraments and their administration, the sacrament of penance, and basic catechesis. Together they reflect Guido's mission to facilitate the fundamental duties priests were expected to fulfill for souls under their charge. Guido explains constituent parts of each sacrament, how each is done, who receives it, and what problems might arise in its practice. In step with broader religious currents of his day, Guido treats penance extensively, addressing topics from instances of the deadly sins to how to question penitents in confession. His Handbook concludes with explanations of the Creed, Lord's Prayer and Ten Commandments for the benefit of his readers and their flocks.

To help contemporary students and scholars understand fully the Handbook's richness as a historical source, the introduction situates it within the intellectual milieu of late medieval Christianity. Guido is well acquainted with the vagaries of real life in a parish and a sense of compassion underlies his directives. Evidence of readers' hands-on engagement abounds in the annotations that were written in the book's margins. Examination of both the content of such comments and their location within the text suggests how Guido's readers sought to translate his advice into practice.

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR:

Anne T. Thayer is the Paul and Minnie Diefenderfer Professor of Mercersburg and Ecumenical Theology and Church History at Lancaster Theological Seminary. Katharine J. Lualdi is professor of history and on the faculty of the Honors Program at the University of Southern Maine. Thayer and Lualdi share an interest in late medieval and early modern Christianity, particularly at the parish level, and have collaborated on the edited volume Penitence in the Age of Reformations.


PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:


"This excellent translation provides an invaluable window into the late medieval culture of parish life and expectations about priestly knowledge and activity, as well as a resource for exploring the transformation of scholarly expertise for practical use. Anne Thayer and Katharine Lualdi follow Guido's lead in creating a volume that offers both neophytes and advanced audiences a distillation of deep learning in an engaging, user-friendly compendium."—Anne L. Clark, Professor of Religion, University of Vermont


"A most welcome addition to our growing knowledge of practiced, popular, and parish religion in the late Middle Ages. Scholars and students, priests and pastors will find much of interest in this late-medieval bestseller. The translation is careful and clear, while the introduction places the Handbook in its proper historical and pastoral context."—Peter Dykema, Associate Professor of History, Arkansas Tech University


"The first English translation of Handbook for Curates, one of the most oft-consulted texts by neophyte parish priests in the late Middle Ages, is a cause for celebration. The editors have examined scores of early printings of this text and analyzed the heavily annotated readers' comments. The result is a rich analysis of the duties of a parish priest on the eve of the Reformation."—Mack P. Holt, Professor of History, George Mason University


"This lucid, highly readable translation, grounded on painstaking and insightful research, masters the direct but complex style and content of this im

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813218694
Publisher: The Catholic University of America Press
Publication date: 09/19/2011
Series: Medieval Texts in Translation Series
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Anne T. Thayer is the Paul and Minnie Diefenderfer Associate Professor of Mercersburg and Ecumenical Theology and Church History at Lancaster Theological Seminary. Katharine J. Lualdi is professor of history and on the faculty of the Honors Program at the University of Southern Maine. Thayer and Lualdi share an interest in late medieval and early modern Christianity and have collaborated on the edited volume Penitence in the Age of Reformations.

Read an Excerpt

HANDBOOK FOR CURATES

A Late Medieval Manual on Pastoral Ministry
By Guido of Monte Rochen

The Catholic University of America Press

Copyright © 2011 The Catholic University of America Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8132-1869-4


Chapter One

PART I: THE SACRAMENTS AND THEIR ADMINISTRATION

Tract I of the first principal part is on the sacraments in general.

CHAPTER I: On the institution of the sacraments

Know that all the sacraments of the new law were directly instituted by Christ, which the doctors prove this way: To whom belongs the giving of any law belongs the instituting of its sacraments. Since Christ was the direct founder, institutor, and giver of the new law, as the Apostle amply proves in the epistle to the Galatians, and is given by Isaiah, saying, "The Lord is our king, the Lord is our lawgiver; he himself will come and save us," therefore it belongs to Christ alone to institute the sacraments of the new law. Hence he instituted the sacrament of baptism when he received baptism in the Jordan by John. Indeed, as Bede says, "By the touch of his most pure flesh he conferred regenerative power on water." Although he instituted the sacrament of baptism then, no one was obligated to receive baptism until after the resurrection, namely, when on the day of his ascension he said to his apostles and other disciples, "Go forth to the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature. Whoever will have believed and been baptized will be saved. Yet truly, whoever will not have believed will be condemned."

He instituted the sacrament of confirmation when he placed his hands on the heads of the children and said to the apostles who would have prevented it, "Allow the little ones to come to me." Although some doctors say that he instituted the sacrament of confirmation on the day of Pentecost when he visibly sent the Holy Spirit on the apostles, I think the first is truer.

He instituted the sacrament of the eucharist on the day of the Last Supper, when, after eating the paschal lamb, he converted bread and wine into his body and blood by his ineffable power, saying, " 'Take and eat. This is my body.' And taking the chalice, he said, 'Drink from this, all of you. This is the chalice of my blood.'"

He instituted the sacrament of penance when he began the start of his most life-giving preaching, saying, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near." And that sins should be confessed to priests he instituted figuratively when he commanded the ten lepers cleansed by him, saying in Luke 17, "Go show yourselves to the priests." Although sins are forgiven in contrition, by the testimony of the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 18, who says in the person of Christ, "At whatever hour the sinner bewails all his iniquities, I will remember them no more," nevertheless, sins are still to be confessed to priests if the opportunity arises.

God instituted the sacrament of orders when on the day of the Last Supper after he communed the apostles, he said to them, "Do this in commemoration of me." Indeed then, according to the doctors, he ordained all the apostles. Truly Christ instituted the sacrament of orders in a sevenfold way since there are seven orders. Four are not holy and are minor as are doorkeeper, lector, exorcist, and acolyte; and three are holy and major, as are subdeacon, deacon, and priest. All these are said to be one sacrament because they are ordered principally toward one, namely, the priesthood. He instituted the order of doorkeeper when he made a whip out of cords and threw the buyers and sellers out of the Temple. He instituted the order of lector when, reading the words of Isaiah, he preached, saying, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because of this, he has anointed me. He has sent me to evangelize the poor." The order of exorcist he instituted when he commanded demons to leave those possessed. The order of acolyte he instituted when in preaching he said, "I am the light of the world." And the order of subdeacon he instituted when after supper he washed the feet of his disciples. He instituted the order of deacon when he warned the disciples, just like the Levites, to keep watch. He instituted the order of priest when he supplied his body and blood to his disciples saying, "As often as you do this, do it in memory of me," and as he offered his body and blood to the Father on the altar of the cross, he himself as the sacrifice.

Truly he instituted the sacrament of extreme unction when he sent the apostles to anoint and heal the sick. Here some doctors say that St. James instituted this sacrament when he said in his letter, "Is anyone ill among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with holy oil." But, with all due respect, I do not think they are right for the reason stated at the beginning of this chapter. Indeed I believe that that saying of St. James was not the institution of the sacrament but its promulgation. Hence St. James was not the institutor of this sacrament but only its promulgator.

There is doubt about when the sacrament of marriage was instituted and whether it was instituted by Christ incarnate, since marriage existed in the state of innocence and in the time before the incarnation. Therefore, to resolve these doubts, know that marriage can be considered in three ways—in one way as it is an office of nature; in the second way as it is a remedy for carnal lust, since carnal lust is satisfied in marriage; in the third way as it is a sign of the union of certain things, namely, of Christ and the church, which the union of the souls of man and wife signifies, and the union of human and divine nature in the person of the son of God which the union of bodies signifies. Marriage, considered in the first and second ways, is not a sacrament as we are speaking here about the sacrament of marriage. But considered in the third way, it is a sacrament and was instituted as such by Christ when, in the Virgin's womb, he wanted to unite our nature with the divine nature in the unity of his own subject or person, which union marriage signifies. Just as in the act of marriage the husband and wife are two in one flesh, so the two natures, namely, human and divine, are in one person, namely, in the person of the Son.

CHAPTER 2: On the efficacy and power of the sacraments

On the efficacy and power of the sacraments, know that the power of the sacraments in general (the power of each one in particular will be discussed later) consists in two things, namely, in removing guilt and in conferring grace. Indeed each of the sacraments of the new law, unless there is an obstacle, that is, an impediment on the part of the recipient, removes guilt if it is found and confers or augments grace. And by this, the sacraments of the new law differ from the sacraments of the old law, because the sacraments of the old law, with the exception of the sacrament of circumcision, had no power with respect to the removal of guilt and the gathering of grace on the part of the work done [operis operati], but they had all their power and efficacy on the part of the action of the agent [operis operantis]. But the sacraments of the new law have efficacy not only on the part of the work done [operis operati], but also on the part of the action of the agent [operis operantis]. The devotion of the recipient of the sacrament is called the work of the agent [opus operantis]. The action done around the sacraments is called the work done [opus operatum], as the work done [opus operatum] in baptism is the sprinkling or immersion in water and the utterance of words. That the sacraments of the new law, on the part of the one doing the work [operis operantis], confer grace and are a cause of grace is clear from the definition of a sacrament offered by the Master of the Sentences in Book iiij, where it is said, "A sacrament is the sign and visible form of an invisible grace in such a manner that it is a sign of the grace of God and the form of invisible grace so that it bears its image and is its cause." But whether the sacraments of the new law are the sine qua non cause of grace or the cause propter quam requires study with fuller investigation than the present little work requires.

Other powers belong to the sacraments of the new law as well because some of them imprint character on their recipients, namely, the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and orders. And character is a certain special power through which the recipient of the sacrament can do or receive something which he could not before, as one baptized can receive the other sacraments of the church which the nonbaptized cannot do; and the ordained can exercise the office of his order which the nonordained cannot do; and one confirmed is obligated to boldly confess the faith of Christ in time of persecution for the faith which the nonconfirmed person is not obligated to do, unless perhaps he is particularly scrutinized about the faith.

But the other sacraments, namely, eucharist, penance, marriage, and extreme unction, do not imprint such a character because they can be repeated many times, as a man can communicate, confess, and be anointed many times, and when one wife has died can contract marriage with another. But the sacraments which imprint character should not and cannot be repeated, as no one ought to be baptized or confirmed or ordained to the same order twice. And the reason is that their power always remains, namely, the character which is indelible.

CHAPTER 3: On the number and distinction of the sacraments

As for the number of the sacraments, know that the sacraments are seven, namely, baptism, confirmation, eucharist, penance, extreme unction, orders, and marriage. The distinction among these sacraments is given by the sufficient [reason] of certain doctors which is this: As it is in bodily life, so, in its own way, it ought to be in spiritual life. And in bodily life, we see that first man is born, second he grows, third he is fed, fourth he comes to such perfection of strength that he can generate children like himself, and thus humankind is multiplied. And because human health can be impeded by infirmity, a person needs a double medicine, one against infirmity, the other against the remnants of the infirmity. And as in bodily life five things are necessary, namely, birth, growth, food, multiplication, and medicine, so in a similar way in the spiritual life, which is the life of the faithful, living in the faith and unity of the church, five things are necessary, namely, spiritual birth which is done in baptism through which one is regenerated in Christ; spiritual growth which happens in confirmation in which baptismal grace is augmented; spiritual food which is given in the eucharist which is spiritual food for the soul. And because the faithful need to multiply spiritually and bodily, for spiritual multiplication the sacrament of orders is received, through which the ministers of the church are multiplied. As for bodily multiplication, the sacrament of matrimony is received which is intended for the bodily multiplication of the faithful. The spiritual medicine against spiritual infirmity, which is sin, is penance; the other spiritual medicine is against the remnants of sin and is extreme unction. And these things are about the sacraments in general.

Tract 2 of the first principal part is on baptism.

CHAPTER I: What baptism is and why it is so called

Now each sacrament in particular is to be discussed. And first about baptism, concerning which eight things are to be considered. First, what baptism is; second, its matter; third, the form; fourth, the minister; fifth, the recipients; sixth, the rite of baptism; seventh, its effect; eighth, the things added to it.

Baptism is the exterior washing of the body done with the prescribed, that is, fixed, formula of words, so that this material washing which is done on the outside of the body is a sign of the spiritual washing which God does inside on the mind. And it is called baptism from "to baptize" (baptiso, -as, -are) which is the same as "to wash" (abluo, -is, -ere). Hence "baptism" in Greek is the same as "washing" in Latin.

CHAPTER 2: On the matter of baptism

The matter of baptism is simple elemental water. And you have the whole reason why this water is the proper matter of baptism in the institution of Christ who instituted baptism to be done in water. But if he had instituted baptism in wine or in some other liquid, the wine or the other liquid would be the proper matter of baptism. Nevertheless, some fitting reasons are usually given by the doctors for why Christ instituted baptism to be done in water rather than in another liquid.

The first of these is that the sacrament of greatest necessity ought to have the most common matter, lest on account of lacking the matter someone should be kept from receiving baptism. But baptism is the sacrament of greatest necessity because without baptism, no one can be saved. Therefore, so that no one can excuse himself from receiving baptism on account of lacking the matter or on account of its cost, baptism ought to have the most common matter. And such matter is water, which is found in any land and can be had easily. Indeed someone might excuse himself if the matter of baptism were wine or oil or some other more expensive liquid which is not found in every land, nor could be had easily.

Another fitting reason or explanation is that the nature of water is especially suited to baptism, for water is cleansing for the dirty, cooling for the hot, and clear to the gaze of the eye. Similarly baptism cleans away the dirt of the soul; therefore it is called baptism, because "baptism" in Greek means the same as "washing" in Latin. Hence to baptize is the same as to wash. Again, baptism cools the heat of carnal lust; it also illuminates the eyes of the mind for considering divine knowledge. Therefore the doctors assert thus: That thing is the proper matter of baptism whose nature especially fits baptism; water is this kind of thing, therefore water is the proper matter of baptism.

Whether the water is blessed or not does not matter for baptism because one can be just as well baptized in nonblessed water as in blessed. But the baptismal water in church is blessed on account of the solemnity and great reverence surrounding baptism.

But can baptism be done in rose water or in brandy or in other distilled spirits if elemental water cannot be found? The answer must be no, because such waters are not proper waters, but the humors of the bodies from which they are distilled.

If, however, water cannot be found, baptism may be done in lye, since lye is nothing other than water put through ashes. And for the same reason, some doctors say that baptism may be done in urine when water is lacking, which I do not believe is true, because urine is not water but a humor released from food eaten. And I say the same thing about saliva. But can baptism be done in meat broth when other water cannot be found? The answer is that either so much rendering of the meat is done in that broth that it stops being the species of water and becomes another species newly generated, and then baptism cannot be done; or not so much rendering of the meat has been done in it, and then it can be done, and one can be baptized in such broth. But when such rendering has been done and when it has not can be assessed by the consistency. For if the consistency of this broth is like that in meat or a little softer, I do not believe that it is possible to baptize in this broth. But if it is not of such a consistency, but the broth is greasy, I believe that then one can baptize in that broth. And I say the same thing about mud, namely, if water is squeezed out of it, baptism can be done in that squeezed-out water. Also if snow is melted, baptism can be done in that melted-snow water.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from HANDBOOK FOR CURATES by Guido of Monte Rochen Copyright © 2011 by The Catholic University of America Press. Excerpted by permission of The Catholic University of America Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword by Thomas Tentler....................vii
Acknowledgments....................xi
Introduction....................xiii
Author's Letter....................3
Prologue....................5
Part I: The Sacraments and Their Administration....................9
Tract 1, On the Sacraments in General....................9
Tract 2, On Baptism....................15
Tract 3, On Confirmation....................35
Tract 4, On the Sacrament of the Eucharist....................43
Tract 5, On the Sacrament of Orders....................108
Tract 6, On the Sacrament of Extreme Unction....................118
Tract 7, On the Sacrament of Marriage....................123
Part II: The Sacrament of Penance....................157
Prologue....................157
Tract 1, On Penance in General....................159
Tract 2, On Contrition....................164
Tract 3, On Confession....................181
Tract 4, On Satisfaction....................244
Part III: Basic Catechesis....................271
Chapter 1, On the Articles of the Faith....................272
Chapter 2, On the Petitions of the Lord's Prayer....................280
Chapter 3, On the Ten Commandments of the Law....................293
Chapter 4, On the Gifts of the Blessed....................305
Table of the Book Called Handbook for Curates....................307
Appendix: Authors and Sources Cited in the Handbook for Curates....................315
Selected Bibliography....................325
General Index....................329
Index of Scripture....................347

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