Parish Priests and Their People in the Middle Ages in England

By Edward L. Cutts | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIV.
MONKS AND FRIARS.

WE have only to deal here with the relations of the religious houses with the clergy, and their influence upon the general religious life of clergy and people.

First of all, the monasteries kept before the minds both of parish priests and of their people the ideal of an unambitious, self-denying, studious, meditative, religious life. No doubt many of the monks and nuns fell short of their own ideal, and there were occasional scandals; we find notices in the registers of the bishops of their intervention in such cases. But the lives of the majority were sufficiently respectable to maintain the credit of the institution, and there were always some whose lives were exemplary. We may produce an evidence of the general feeling on the subject from the report of the commissioners of Henry VIII., who were sent to inquire into the state of the smaller monasteries, with a view to their suppression. The report stated that

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