Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe: Documents in Translation

By Edward Peters | Go to book overview

44 The English Statute De haeretico comburendo, 1401

Whereas it is showed to our sovereign lord the king on behalf of the prelates and clergy of his realm of England in this present Parliament, that although the Catholic faith, founded upon Christ, and by his apostles and the Holy Church sufficiently determined, declared, and approved, has been hitherto by good and holy and most noble progenitors of our sovereign lord the king in the said realm, amongst all the realms of the world, most devoutly observed, and the English Church by his said most noble progenitors and ancestors, to the honor of God and of the whole realm aforesaid, laudably endowed, and in her rights and liberties sustained, without that the same faith or the said Church was hurt or grievously oppressed, or else disturbed by any perverse doctrine or wicked, heretical, or erroneous opinions:

Yet nevertheless divers false and perverse people of a certain new sect, damnably thinking of the faith of the sacraments of the Church and the authority of the same, and, against the law of God and of the Church, usurping the office of preaching, do perversely and maliciously, in divers places within the said realm, under the color of dissembled holiness, preach and teach in these days, openly and privily, divers new doctrines and wicked, heretical, and erroneous opinions, contrary to the same faith and blessed determinations of the Holy Church.

And of such sect and wicked doctrine and opinions, they make unlawful conventicles and confederacies, they hold and exercise schools, they make and write books, they do wickedly instruct and inform people, and, as much as they may, excite and stir them to sedition and insurrection, and make great strife and division among the people, and do daily perpetrate and commit other enormities horrible to be heard, in subversion of the said Catholic faith and doctrine of the Holy Church, in diminution of God's honor, and also in destruction of the estate, rights, and liberties of the said English Church; by which sect and wicked and false preachings, doctrines, and opinions of the said false and perverse people, not only the greatest peril of souls, but also many more other hurts, slanders, and perils, which God forbid, might come to this realm, unless it be the more

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