Chapter

Priesthood and its Discontents

J. Patrick Hornbeck II

in What is a Lollard?

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199589043
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199589043.003.0005

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Priesthood and its Discontents

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Whether married or otherwise, clergymen played an indispensable role in the practice of late medieval Christianity. This chapter studies lollard ideas about the sacrament of orders, including the ways in which and the persons to whom it is to be administered, the duties of curates, the financing of the clergy, and the papacy. Both Wyclif and the majority of lay heresy suspects envisioned the retention and purification of the clerical estate. Quite contrary to the stereotype that lollards were radical reformers, Wycliffite theologies of the priesthood tended to be conservative ones: dissenters urged priests to follow more closely the example of the Apostles and to repudiate the wealth of the church. Nevertheless, even though many dissenters advocated the total disendowment of the church, Wycliffite writers and heresy defendants were hardly of one mind in proposing alternative structures for its financing and governance.

Keywords: Lollards; Wyclif; clergy; orders; endowment; anticlericalism; priesthood; reform

Chapter.  15260 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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