197–198 Tertullian explains Christian finances in his Apology: “Even if there is a chest of a sort, it is not made up of money paid in entrance-fees, as if religion were a matter of contract. Every man once a month brings some modest coin—or whenever he wishes, and only if he does wish, and if he can; for nobody is compelled; it is a voluntary offering. You might call them the trust funds of piety. For they are not spent upon banquets nor drinking-parties nor thankless eating-houses; but to feed the poor and to bury them, for boys and girls who lack property and parents, and then for slaves grown old and shipwrecked mariners; and any who may be in mines, islands, or prisons ….”

c. 400 John Chrysostom says Christians should not “reproach priests for their plenty,” but give to the church anyway.

731 St. Boniface complains of clergy “who receive the milk and fleece of the sheep of Christ in the daily offerings and tithes of the faithful, [yet] lay aside the care of the Lord’s flock.”

1199 Pope Innocent III taxes the clergy of Europe to fund the Crusades.

1209 Pope Innocent III taxes the clergy of Europe to fund the fight against the Albigensian heresy.

1215 Pope Innocent III orders that the princes of Europe must consult him before taxing the clergy.

1296 Pope Boniface VIII issues a papal bull (Clericis Laicos), exempting the clergy from paying taxes to any secular ruler—especially in France, where Philip IV has been milking the churches to wage war with England. Philip responds by forbidding the sending of gold or silver out of France without his permission; thus French churches can’t send money to Rome.

Late 1300s In Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer has the priest (pardoner) say:

By such hornswoggling I’ve won year by year, A ...

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