To clerics and laymen from episcopal excommunications is extended.
The clergy having thus another authority, and one moreover more canonical, to appeal to, the power of the archdeacons gradually declined; and, so far as the Roman Catholic Church is concerned, it received its death-blow from the council of Trent (1564), which withdrew all matrimonial and criminal causes from the competence of the archdeacons, forbade them to pronounce excommunications, and allowed them only to hold visitations in connexion with those of the bishop and with his consent.
Marsilius denies, not only to the pope, but to the bishops and clergy, any coercive jurisdiction or any right to pronounce on their own authority excommunications and interdicts, or in any way to impose the observation of the divine law.
Gregory XIV., by the bull Ecclesiae Christi (July 28, 1591), again confirmed the Society, and granted that Jesuits might, for true cause, be expelled from the body without any form of trial or even documentary procedure, besides denouncing excommunications against every one, save the pope or his legates, who directly or indirectly infringed the constitutions of the Society or attempted to bring about any change therein.
The Franciscans had no sympathy for profane knowledge, even among the Mexicans, - sometimes publicly burning quantities of books of a scientific or miscellaneous nature; and the reading of Fenelon's Telemaque brought excommunications on a layman.