Avranches, Council of

Avranches, Council of

(Concilium Avrincatense), was held May 22, 1172, the cardinal legates Theodinus and Albert presiding. Henry II of England, having taken the oath which the pope's legates required of him, and annulled all the unlawful customs which had been established in his time, and done penance, was absolved on account of the assassination of Becket. Among other things, Henry engaged

(1.) not to withdraw from the obedience of the pope Alexander III or of his successors so long as they continued to acknowledge him as Catholic king of England;

(2.) That he would not hinder appeals to Rome;

(3.) He promised, at the coming Christmas, to take the cross for three years, and in the year following to set out for Jerusalem, unless the pope should grant a dispensation, and unless he were obliged to go to Spain to oppose the Saracens. This was rather an assembly than a council. The real Council of Avranches, in this year, was not held until Sept. 27 or 28. The king then renewed his oath, adding to it some expressions of attachment and obedience to Alexander. Twelve canons were then drawn up, enacting, among other matters, that it should not be lawful to appoint infants to benefices with cure of souls; that the incumbents of parishes who could afford. it should be compelled to have an assisting priest, that it should not be lawful for a husband or wife to enter upon a monastic life while the other continued in the world. Abstinence and fasting during Advent were recommended to all who could bear it, and especially to the clergy, See Labbe, Concil. 10:1457.

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