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The Letter of Richard Wyche: An Interrogation Narrative

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020


The dissident priest Richard Wyche, Judged a recalcitrant heretic by the church and condemned to die at the hands of the state, was burned at the stake in London in 1440. Almost four decades earlier, he had been interrogated by ecclesiastical officials in Durham. A record of his ordeal survives, extraordinarily, in the autobiographical narrative translated below.

Little-Known Documents
Copyright © 2012 by The Modern Language Association of America

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Major premise: Anyone transgressing canon law is a heretic.Google Scholar
Minor premise: No heretic can consecrate the host.Google Scholar
Conclusion: Therefore, no one transgressing canon law can consecrate the host.Google Scholar
But if no one breaking man's (church or canon) law can consecrate, then a fortiori no one transgressing God's law can do so. Thus, a priest in a sinful state cannot consecrate—contrary to orthodox doctrine.Google Scholar