Guido of Monte Rochen's Handbook for Curates became the most popular pastoral manual at the close of the Middle Ages as thousands of copies were printed in Europe. Composed of a mixture of practical "how to" and theological instruction, the Handbook taught pastoral basics to everyday priests. As such, it is an essential and vibrant source on late medieval religion and parish practice, which this full-length translation makes available in English for the first time.
The Handbook is divided into three parts: sacraments and their administration, the sacrament of penance, and basic catechesis. Together they reflect Guido's mission to facilitate the fundamental duties priests were expected to fulfill for souls under their charge. Guido explains constituent parts of each sacrament, how each is done, who receives it, and what problems might arise in its practice. In step with broader religious currents of his day, Guido treats penance extensively, addressing topics from instances of the deadly sins to how to question penitents in confession. His Handbook concludes with explanations of the Creed, Lord's Prayer, and Ten Commandments for the benefit of his readers and their flocks.
To help contemporary students and scholars understand fully the Handbook's richness as a historical source, the introduction situates it within the intellectual milieu of late medieval Christianity. Guido is well acquainted with the vagaries of real life in a parish and a sense of compassion underlies his directives. Evidence of readers' hands-on engagement abounds in the annotations that were written in the book's margins. Examination of both the content of such comments and their location within the text suggests how Guido's readers sought to translate his advice into practice.
Publisher: The Catholic University of America Press
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 557 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 28 mm