Sacramental Famine in a Time of Pandemic

A Cistercian Abbot Confronts a Sacramental and Economic Crisis: John of Ford and the General Interdict of England, 1208-1214 

Aaron Gies

In March of 1210, there had been no public Mass in England for two years. In an effort to force King John to respect the right of the Church to choose its leaders, Pope Innocent III forbade any officium from being celebrated in England, except for the baptism of children and last rites.[1] There were no public eucharists, no corporate prayer of the Divine Office, no marriages, no confessions (except on one’s death bed), no ordinations, no Christian burial. In Devon, the Cistercian abbot John of Ford (ca. 1140-1214) abruptly broke away from his contemplative discourse on the marriage imagery of the Song, and instead produced an eloquent lament.[2] His text was on Song of Songs 5:17: Where did your beloved go, O fairest of women? Which way did your beloved turn, that we may go with you to seek him?  He wrote:

These words of the song come very opportunely, not so much from the view point of poetry, as from that of inducing us to express our grief. Let us leave, for a while, the things of love, let the bride come out of her marriage chamber, let the sound of music die away, let kisses give place to weeping, for ‘he has turned and gone away.’[3]

The ancient practices of worship, so crucially important for the formation of Christian people, were radically disrupted. Recently, philosopher James K. A. Smith has argued that these practices, rather than a Christian propositional framework or “worldview,” are to be considered the central formative influence of the faith, since human beings are most deeply shaped not by what they think, but by what they love.[4]

Ultimately, the Interdict would last for six years. For the English Church, it also brought economic hardship. King John saw the pope’s action as a declaration of war, not as a diplomatic tool to encourage serious negotiation over ecclesiastical rights. He therefore saw the clergy who enforced it as traitors and moved quickly to confiscate their goods and property, eventually allowing most of them to buy it back through the payment of enormous fines.[5] These exactions fell particularly heavily on Cistercian houses, who in 1210 were ordered to pay a huge tax on a timeline so tight that it required them to literally sell the clothes off their backs and the vessels from the altars.[6] There was disagreement among the abbots over whether these fines ought to be paid. Their only alternative was to disband, which some were inclined to do, seeing payment as collusion in the King’s sin. John of Ford strongly disagreed, citing Jesus’s words to Peter: repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar (Mk 12:17). From his point of view, the impoverishment of the abbeys, however painful, was a grace: a chance to draw near to Christ: poor, humble, crucified.

Now, as then, the liturgies of Christian worship are in a state of disruption. They have not ceased, thank God, but there is no doubt that the widespread suspension of corporate worship for public health reasons has put us in a situation similar to the General Interdict. As I write, the President and other leaders have begun to call for houses of worship to reopen, and in some US states, public worship has already resumed, often in the open air. However, since the fight against the virus will continue, with gains and losses, for perhaps two years or more, the disordered state of liturgical life will continue as well, especially for the elderly, the sick, the poor and underprivileged. Since there were no Franciscans on the scene at the time, I suggest that we look to John of Ford for insight into this strange state of affairs.[7]

Cistercians and Franciscans

The Cistercians, then as now, understood their vocation as primarily contemplative. They pared back the ties to the rest of society that had gradually bound other Benedictines, rejecting serfs, parish churches and their tithes, oblates and schools and embracing an extremely simple and austere life within the monastery, which they took to be a return to the life of the Desert Fathers and of Benedict himself.[8] The spirit animating this new ascetic ressourcement, however, was not masochism, but charity. In their cold, unpainted cloisters, clad in shabby, undyed habits, they wrote mystical treatises and spiritual commentaries on scripture of great beauty and extraordinary perceptiveness.

Cistercians have long been acknowledged as important influences on the early Franciscan movement. The eschatological writings of Joachim, the Cistercian abbot of Fiore (d. 1202), had a marked influence not only on the more radical Spirituals, but even on St. Bonaventure. Thomas Gallus, who ended his life as the Cistercian abbot of Vercelli in 1246, developed an affective approach to Dionysian mysticism which is an obvious feature of early Franciscan theologians such as Alexander of Hales and St. Bonaventure. Above all, the preaching and theological treatises of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153) were widely used by the early Franciscans.[9]

It would be folly, though, to pretend that any medieval Franciscan ever read John of Ford. His masterwork was a magisterial cycle of 120 sermons on the Song of Songs, bringing to completion the work of spiritual commentary begun by Bernard of Clairvaux and continued by his former secretary Gilbert of Hoyland.[10] Unfortunately, perhaps because of the very poverty visited upon the abbey as a consequence of the Interdict, the work was condemned to obscurity.[11] There is little scholarship on this beautiful text, precisely because it constitutes a more or less complete historical “dead end.”[12] It can make no claim to influence, and John was not a flashy or gossipy author, a Roger Bacon or Jacques de Vitry who might let us in on new secrets. At Christopher Holdsworth’s dissertation defense, the famous medievalist Richard Southern, who was a reader, remarked, “it’s a pity that John of Ford turned out to be such a bore.”[13] Still, it seems to me that John, a spiritual master enduring a time of sacramental famine and economic hardship, may have something to teach us in the time of COVID-19.

Sacramental Famine

John begins his lament with a concern for God’s own glory. The complaint centers around worship.

And you, Lord, how long will you keep us waiting? How long will the punishment that one ruler has deserved fall so heavily upon all? How long will we be commanded to pay back, at such heavy interest, what we have never stolen? For how long, Lord, will you not even spare the glory of your name, seeming to have repudiated your altar and cursed your sanctuary? Look at your altar, standing bare and deserted, stripped of its rites and the honor it is due. Your house of prayer, in which we used to praise you, has become silent, and our voices rise no more in common prayer.[14]

It is very hard, John states, for all to be unable to worship because of the actions of one. This is particularly so in a monastery, where the rituals of the Divine Office and community Mass define each day, but we feel its absence too. We feel it when we tune in to videoconferences and Facebook live feeds to virtually participate in worship. The wrongness of it shouts to us in reports of people dying alone and being buried without a funeral. We sense it in the helpful emails from pastors and directors of parish programs who sometimes seem to be casting about for something useful to do. It is there, too, in the desperate calls and messages for help, where we feel the loosening of the fellowship of believers, with the loneliness, depression, anxiety and unmet needs that can result. Notice too that John’s complaint is addressed to God, not to the king or the pope. He has sharp criticism for the king and veiled criticism for the pope within the sermon, but his lament is unbendingly ecclesial in its approach. John does not protest the Interdict as unnecessary.

The monks were allowed to celebrate the Eucharist weekly, but not daily. This is close to our present situation, where conventual and livestreamed masses may still go forward. For the majority, though, the situation was different. The idea that the Eucharist is the food that sustains the Christian on the way and fits her for heaven by conforming her to the glorified Christ was common then (as now) in sacramental theology. John refers to it frequently: “in this bread, your love makes us one with you, our head, and you bind us closely together with the bonds of faith and charity.”[15] What is less commonly stated is the negative corollary that without the Eucharist, faith withers away.

[F]or the crowd, there is nothing. For nearly two years now, ‘the crowd’[16] has waited fasting, cut off from all share of the sacraments. It is all too obvious that they will ‘faint on the way,’[17] and, if their hunger goes on increasing much longer, their hearts will forget all about their homeland.[18]

Nor is this an isolated instance. In the passage that follows, John underlines his concern in terms that are even more stark: “if the sacrifice were to cease, the fire of faith would gradually die down, and in the end, it would burn out completely.”[19]

When I first read this passage ten years ago, taught by Reformed Evangelical works such as Albert Wolter’s Creation Regained to think of Christianity in predominantly intellectual terms, as a web of doctrinal propositions together comprising a “Christian worldview,” I was deeply shocked.[20] To be sure, I did not believe that praxis could be ignored, but liturgical practices seemed less important than ethical ones, and right belief outweighed both. Typical Evangelical Protestant liturgies, which are usually dominated by a long expository sermon and only include a communion rite monthly or even quarterly, reflect this way of thinking. I had fallen in love with the Cistercians because of the virtuosity they display in quoting Scripture, making of their sermons a delicate fabric of allusion and rich metaphor. It reminded me–strange as it may sound–of the best sermons I had heard in Evangelical churches. Now, hearing John of Ford attribute a make-or-break significance to the regular practice of eucharistic communion, I felt something like dismay. What had seemed familiar had become strange. It made me see the awful seriousness of the Interdict as a papal weapon and the vast distance between the post-Cartesian world we inhabit and the Augustinian world in which John was living. It was during these very years, after all, that the doctrine of transubstantiation was formed in Paris classrooms and then defined by Lateran IV (1215). Francis’s own writings breathe this reverence for the Eucharist as the irreplaceable locus of Christ’s physical presence: “in this world, I see nothing corporally of the most high Son of God except his most holy Body and Blood which they [priests] receive and which they alone administer to others” (Test 10).[21]

There is more at stake here than doctrine. Implicit in Abbot John’s words is the idea that the liturgies in which we participate together sustain us in existence as believers. This is not intended to contradict St. Paul’s by grace you have been saved through faith (Eph 2:8), but to insist that grace is conferred on the faithful by means, and that these means of grace are indispensable. Augustinian theological anthropology is quite clear that human beings are most basically lovers: “you stir man to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”[22] Our identities and destinies are shaped (or misshaped) by our ultimate desires. Commenting on Song of Songs 2:4, he set love in order in me, St. Bernard insisted that it was rightly-ordered loves, that is, loving God above all, neighbor and self for God’s sake, and “using the things of this world as though not using them,” that makes someone worthy of being called wise.[23] Bonaventure was alluding to this tradition when, in his Life of St. Francis, he referred to the saint as vir hierarchicus: “the hierarchic man” (LMj Prol. 6).[24] This Augustinian anthropology, more than the Cartesian idea that rationality constitutes the essence of what it is to be human, “I think, therefore I am,” takes seriously the Incarnation, with its dignification of human embodiment. It also better accounts for the full human dignity of those, like children or the developmentally disabled, whose rational powers do not meet the Cartesian ideal. I believe that the Eucharist is Christ’s body and blood, and that in receiving it in faith in the assembly of the faithful, I am united with Christ and strengthened by the grace of the Holy Spirit to participate in his mission in the world. Still, the belief is inseparable from and posterior to the practice. Union with Christ is something enacted with the body more than something thought with the mind, so much so that if the practice were somehow to cease, faith itself would, over time, fade away as well.

This implies that there are serious challenges to faith posed by church closings precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our assembly (Heb 10:25) is not ultimately something that can be time-shifted, substituted or virtually accomplished. However, this does not mean that John would today side with those who would run any and all risks for an immediate return to regular public worship. That, after all, would not be wise, since it would involve an abrogation of love for neighbor. Remember: The Interdict lasted for six years, and seems mostly to have been faithfully carried out by the clergy.[25] He is anxious about the effects of this sacramental famine, but that anxiety is counterbalanced by his very hunger for greater intimacy with Christ. That intimacy is not denied because the “marriage feast” of the eucharist is so scarce.

Where did your beloved go, O fairest of women? Which way did your beloved turn?[26]  Can he have left the marriage feast for a house of mourning? Perhaps so, and perhaps it is there he expects us to look for him, seeing that we find set up before us the bread of suffering, and a cup mixed with tears![27] What else can be our fare when he is gone from us, when he is angry with us? So, my brothers, let us lose no time in seeking him there, because he is always close ‘to those whose hearts are troubled.’[28] Whatever the cup may be that the hand of our Father has prepared for us, we, on our side, to prove we are truly his sons, must not be slow to receive it with filial respect.[29]

“The cup…the Father has prepared for us” is an unmistakable reference to Christ’s Passion.[30] John reminds his monks that, in experiencing the absence of God’s sacramental blessings from their lives, they are still participating in Christ, who suffered and was forsaken by God for them.[31] This should encourage those of us for whom the suspension of public worship is a great trial: great trials are an indispensable part of life in Christ. In our loneliness, in our anxiety, Christ is present.

In a May 22nd article in the National Catholic Reporter, Basilian priest Kevin Menara made the very helpful suggestion that the Rite of Celebration in the Absence of a Priest might be more helpful in time of quarantine than livestreamed masses. Since it is effectively a prayer service, it might better facilitate the “full, conscious and active participation” of the laity, which is the goal laid down in Vatican II’s Sacro sanctum Concilium.[32] Mannara also brings up the Liturgy of the Hours, but dismisses it as a live possibility, since “the church has not promoted the Divine Office well among the laity,” and, “a time of crisis is not the time to teach something new and unfamiliar.” Perhaps so, but on a personal note, I can say that Evening Prayer has become a refuge for my wife and I, with my brother-in-law sometimes joining on video chat. To pray the Psalms at length is at once to be drawn away from our pressing concerns and to have our deepest needs expressed, to know at once that the world has always been filled with trouble and that Christ has overcome the world.[33]

Economic Devastation

Three months after John penned Sermon Forty-One, in June of 1210, King John summoned the Cistercian abbots to York, where he was about to begin a campaign against the Irish. There he demanded from them an enormous tax–remember, he thought of them as enemies in his “war” with the pope. Ford’s share was 715 silver marks; Meaux’s was 1000. Roger of Wendover places the tally for the whole Order in England at 40,000 marks.[34] In Sermon Seventy-six, John again laments these repercussions of the Interdict and is surprisingly candid about the abbots’ deliberations. The King gave the abbots two choices: pay up immediately, with half of the money in six weeks and the balance five weeks later, or face eviction and the total liquidation of their assets. Some thought the latter course might be better. After all, the tax was a violation of their legal rights, since the Cistercians enjoyed a royal privilege granting them freedom from taxation. By paying, would they not be consenting to injustice? And, by contributing to the King’s war chest, would they not be supporting his violence?[35] Others, John among them, saw the matter differently:

They decided, finally, that those who were overtaken by a furious storm must use their discretion. To their way of thinking, men must lighten the ship when, on all sides, towering waves threaten to drown them, and no image dwells before their eyes but that of pallid death. However precious the treasure they jettison, they regard it as a trifle in comparison with their own safety. The wise merchant will not hesitate to give all he has, for the sake of his soul.[36] So then, if the price of temporal safety and of drawing breath for a little while is so high, that nothing this world holds dear can possibly be compared to it, how much more careful we should be about the value of souls, which Christ died to redeem, and of a safety that is not passing but eternal?[37]

If catastrophic economic loss should be shouldered to save lives in an emergency, (and it is), John and his allies concluded that continuing their ministry in order to save souls also justified great sacrifice. There was another reason, too:

[W]e know that the disciple is not above his master, and it ought to satisfy all our expectations, or even go beyond them, if we live in these present times with a freedom as great as our Master’s…. The author of all ages, chose especially to be born in that particular age when the whole earth was enrolled by its territorial lord.[38] He came down from heaven to his own,[39] and he claimed nothing in the world for his personal use except swaddling bands and a manger. So he was immediately reckoned as no more important than any other man; their lot was slavery, and he never shrank from entering upon it.[40]

John argues that those abbots who preferred to insist on their rights, facing eviction rather than see their liberty violated by paying an unjust tax, would part company with Christ, who paid taxes and suffered subjection, but was, in John’s words, “the first free man of the sons of Adam.”[41] They decided to pay.

And so, without more ado, there was a great selling: oxen, who but yesterday were pulling the plough, were released from the yoke, and cows, with calves and heifers, sheep too, and any other animals we had, estates and rents, even the very clothes the community had to wear, not to mention our very food, our books as well, and our sacred vessels, all, all were sold.[42]

Even though it had come from humble motives, the sudden come-down was humiliating:

We have begun to walk a new road of poverty, also, and this means we no longer have the strength to lift our heads in public. But what does this matter? O, if only, at long last, this enforced servitude would bring us back even a little, in God’s sight, to genuine poverty! We had gone very far away from it, fugitives and exiles. Now that this blow has fallen, may the bottomless abyss of this greed come at last to an end.[43]

These are strong words for a Cistercian to utter, but John was not alone in feeling that the sudden prospect of poverty brought in its wake an uncomfortable awareness of how comfortable he was. He relates a vision which one of the abbots had one night as they were traveling to Northampton to give their answer to the king:

[He] saw in a dream the Lord Jesus, hanging from the wood of the cross and surrounded by abbots and monks. He hung from his cross, right enough, but the nails had been taken out and he was not fixed to it in the usual way. No, he was weakly attached by the soft linens that women wear. Everyone called upon him, loudly and repeatedly, while he hung his head and made no response to their cries, and remained unmoved. But they went on crying out, and he finally raised himself, displeased. He spoke to them as if he were in labor pangs, and what he said was: A curse upon your day![44]

“In short,” John wrote, interpreting the dream, “he curses their day, meaning by that their peace, their complacency, their life of pleasure, their prosperity. In short, he is cursing this liberty of ours, in which we take so much boastful comfort.”[45] This is a harsh indictment of love grown cold, a harangue that reminds me of St. Francis at his most indignant. This is not to say that we are not justified in feeling pain when we suffer loss. What the vision points to, instead, is a subtle substitution of trust in material prosperity for trust in God. In the Cistercians’ case, prosperity was provided by special protections under law. That sort of “liberty” is something with which the “first free man born of Adam” will have nothing to do. What, then, is John’s idea of the right attitude towards this unlooked-for suffering? Nothing more or less than a humble dependence on God:

It is not good for me to make the flesh my support, to rest my weight upon a staff of reeds, that will pierce the hand of those who lean on it.[46] No, what is good for me, from this day on and for always, is to lean only on you, the Lord our God, and to wait in silent expectation of your consolation.[47]

For those of us who are not Cistercian monks, especially those living in democracies giving each of us, if not control, then at least a vote, it may be difficult to recall that we also stand in this relationship of absolute dependence. Of course, we only wake from the illusion of autonomy by experiencing a lack of control and that is always painful. But if it goes deep enough, there is tremendous peace in the realization.


John of Ford faced a crisis much like the one in which we find ourselves. England between 1208 and 1214 suffered a simultaneous spiritual famine and economic downturn. John’s Sermons on the Song of Songs did not ignore the significance of either. Indeed, he went so far as to suggest that an indefinitely suspended Eucharist would mean the end of the faith. His advice was not to deny the wound, but to seek intimacy with Christ the Man of Sorrows when Christ the Bridegroom had withdrawn. King John’s unjust and ruinous taxes drove many abbots to contemplate civil disobedience, but John of Ford would not agree to give up on saving souls in order to make a point. He saw clearly how the insidious influences of pride and greed can tempt even monks to part ways with Christ by insisting on their rights and privileges. Though it was humiliating and perhaps frightening, he accepted his sudden material poverty as tough love inviting him to renewed spiritual poverty and humility.

John’s laments are an impressive case of following Christ though a difficult time. We part company with him if we simply sit out the crisis, waiting indignantly for our comforts to be restored, to be able to work and pray as we prefer. Our theology, however orthodox, is meaningless if it cannot find expression in the days of COVID-19. I pray that it will be expressed in serving those less fortunate than ourselves and in nurturing Christ’s body in our own homes, which can never be subject to interdict. Spiritual leadership is not just for abbots. Right now, our children are learning the most important lessons of their lives about what Christianity really means. In homes where Christianity is really just a set of religious ideas, the diminished world of quarantine may teach them that faith is not really very important. In homes where Christianity has really been only a means to an end, it may actually be discarded. But in homes where the absence of public liturgy spurs hunger and thirst, issuing in lament, penitence, family worship, empathy and service, they may come to know that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

-Aaron Gies


The article is in the summer edition of the magazine Franciscan Connections: The Cord 70:2 (2020), 7-13 (

[1] King John Lackland, fictional Robin Hood nemesis and real-life awful king, first lost England the majority of her French territories and then mounted increasingly desperate and expensive campaigns to retake them. Later in his reign, he also mounted an expensive campaign in Ireland. He paid for these wars of choice by levying taxes at unprecedented levels and holding over episcopal vacancies for long periods in order to collect their incomes. In 1206, he refused to accept the appointment of a new Archbishop of Canterbury. The cathedral’s monks, gathered in Rome and guided by Pope Innocent III, chose the English-born Paris theologian Stephen Langton. King John, wishing perhaps to avoid another Beckett, preferred a loyal man of his own choosing. This led to Innocent III’s General Interdict of England, which lasted from March 23rd, 1208 until July 2nd, 1214. See C. R. Cheney, “King John and the Papal Interdict,” Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 31 (1948): 295-317; David Knowles, The Monastic Order in England (Cambridge, 1949), 368-69; Interdict Documents, ed. Paul M. Barnes and Maurice Powicke, Pipe Roll Society New Series 34 (1958); Christopher Holdsworth, “John of Ford and the Interdict,” English Historical Review 78, no. 309 (1963): 705-714; More recently, see Paul Webster, King John and Religion (Woodbridge, MA: Boydell), 2015.

[2] See esp. Hilary Costello, “John of Forde: Transfiguration out of Adversity,” Cistercian Studies Quarterly 35, no. 2 (2000): 201-216. 

[3] SC 41.1, CF 43:134.

[4] See esp. James K. A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2009).

[5] Cheney, “King John and the Papal Interdict,” 301-07.

[6] Holdsworth, “John of Ford and the Interdict,” 706; John of Ford, Sermons on the Song of Songs 76.9, English trans. Mary Wendy Beckett, Cistercian Fathers 45 (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian, 1983), 180, (SC 76.9, CF 45:180 hereafter).

[7] The first Franciscan mission to England arrived in 1224.

[8] See The Little Exord, in The Cistercian World: Monastic Writings of the Twelfth Century, ed. and trans. Pauline Matarasso (New York: Penguin, 1993), 7.

[9] For Joachim of Fiore, see Matthias Riedl, ed. A Companion to Joachim of Fiore (Boston: Brill, 2017); On Thomas Gallus, see Boyd Taylor Coolman, Knowledge, Love and Ecstasy in the Theology of Thomas Gallus (New York: Oxford, 2017); On Bernard of Clairvaux, see Isaac Slater, Beyond Measure: The Poetics of the Image in Bernard of Clairvaux (Collegeville, MN: Cistercian, 2020).

[10] Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Song of Songs, English trans. Killian Walsh and Irene Edmonds, CF 4, 7, 31, 40 (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian, 1971-1980); Gilbert of Hoyland, Sermons on the Song of Songs, English trans. Lawrence C. Braceland, CF 20, 26 (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian, 1978, 1979); John of Ford, On the Song of Songs, English trans. Wendy Mary Beckett, CF 29, 39, 43-47 (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian, 1977-1984.

[11] From contemporary catalogues we know there were at least three copies before the Dissolution, but it now survives in only one manuscript: Oxford, Balliol College MS. 24. John of Ford, Super extremam partem Cantici Canticorum sermones cxx, ed. Edmund Mikkers and Hilary Costello, Corpus Christianorum continuatio mediaevalis 17, 18 (Turnholt: Brepols, 1970).

[12] A good introduction to John of Ford scholarship is Hilary Costello and Christopher Holdsworth, eds., A Gathering of Friends: The Learning and Spirituality of John of Forde, Cistercian Studies 161 (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian, 1996).

[13] Christopher Holdsworth, “Introduction,” in A Gathering of Friends: The Learning and Spirituality of John of Forde, CS 161, ed. Hilary Costello and Christopher Holdsworth (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian, 1996), 26.

[14] SC 41.2, CF 43:135.

[15] SC 41.8, CF 43:144.

[16] Mk 8:2.

[17] Cf. Mk 8:3.

[18] SC 41.8, CF 43:144.

[19] SC 41.8, CF 43:145.

[20] Albert M. Wolters, Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview (Kalamazoo, MI: Eerdmans, 1985).

[21] Francis of Assisi, Testament 10, in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, ed. Regis J. Armstrong, J. A. Wayne Hellmann and William R. Short (Hyde Park, NY: New City, 2002), 125.

[22] Augustine, Confessions 1.1.1, English trans. Henry Chadwick (New York: Oxford World’s Classics, 1992), 3.

[23] Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons on the Song of Songs 50.6, CF 31 (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian, 1979), 35; See Slater, Beyond Measure, 78-82.

[24] Bonaventure, The Major Legend of St. Francis, in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, ed. Regis J. Armstrong, J. A. Wayne Hellmann and William R. Short (Hyde Park, NY: New City, 2002), 256.

[25] See Cheney, “King John and the Papal Interdict,” 300, who admits that the evidence is mostly negative.

[26] Sg 5:17.

[27] Cf. Ps 80:5.

[28] Ps 34:18.

[29] SC 41.6, CF 43:140.

[30] See Mt 26:39; Mk 14:36; Lk 22:42.

[31] See Ps 22:1; Isa 53:4; Mt 27:46.

[32] Kevin Mannara, “Would prayer services during pandemic be more helpful than livestreamed Masses?” The National Catholic Reporter, May 22, 2020.

[33] For free resources for praying the Liturgy of the Hours, see An affordable access to the Benedictine way of saying the Hours is Maxwell E. Johnson, ed., Benedictine Daily Prayer: A Short Breviary, 2nd ed. (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2015).

[34] Costello, “John of Forde: Transfiguration,” 209. Some idea of the scale of this demand may be gained by comparing John’s nationwide tax on income and moveable goods in 1207, which also raised 40,000 marks. See Ralph Turner, King John: England’s Evil King (Stroud, UK: History, 2009), 95.

[35] SC 76.3, CF 45:171.

[36] Cf. Mt 13:46.

[37] SC 76.3, CF 45:172.

[38] Cf. Lk 2:1. The census of Augustus, of course, was a tax.

[39] Cf. Jn 1:11.

[40] SC 76.5, CF 45:174-175.

[41] SC 76.5, CF 45:175.

[42] SC 76.9, CF 45:180.

[43] SC 76.9, CF 45:181.

[44] SC 76.10, CF 45:181.

[45] SC 76.11, CF 45:182.

[46] Cf. Lam 3:26.

[47] Cf. Lam 3:26.