Medieval Handbooks of Penance: A Translation of the Principal Libri Poenitentiales and Selections from Related Documents

By John T. McNeill; Helena M. Gamer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
Anonymous and Pseudonymous Frankish and Visigothic Penitentials of the Eighth and Ninth Centuries

1. THE JUDGMENT OF CLEMENT (ca. 700-750)
[HADDAN and Stubbs1 reprint from Kunstmann the short penitential under the title Iudicium Clementis, which is translated below. Kunstmann first published this document2 from a Munich manuscript, and it was reprinted by Wasserschleben, who collated with this text a manuscript of Heiligenkreuz.3 Kunstmann's identification of the author with Willibrord ( 658-739), the Irish-trained English missionary who became bishop of Utrecht in 695, has no support except the fact that at his consecration Willibrord took the name Clemens. This name, however, occurs so frequently among monks and ecclesiastics of the early Middle Ages that any identification of the author without further evidence is perilous. Nothing in the content of the document would definitely exclude the possibility of its authorship by Willibrord Clement; but canon 3 seems to imply a stage of commercialization which is more evident in the generation after his death.]4Here begins the Judgment of Clement.
1. If anyone by force or by any device in evil manner breaks into another's property, he shall do penance for three years, one of these on bread and water, and give liberal alms.
2. If anyone belonging to the ministry of holy Church commits any kind of fraud, he shall do penance for seven years, three of these on bread and water.
3. If anyone fasts for a reward and takes upon himself the sins of another, he is not worthy to be called a Christian. He shall fast for himself as much as he promised to fast for the other and give to the poor what he has received.
____________________
1
Councils, III, 226 f.
2
Die lateinischen Poenitentialbücher der Angelsachsen, pp. 176 f.
3
Bussordnungen, p. 433 f.
4
See above, pp. 48 ff.

-271-

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