I followed him down the hall, and sat on the table while he selected herbs and set water to heat on the fire. I eyed the Spanish cross on the opposite wall, and remembered the day before, seeing him lying prone before it.
"Did you bring that from your homeland?"
"Yes, it has followed me on all my travels". He measured some herbs from his stock into the water. "When this is ready take a little, not too much or you will want to sleep away the day". He paused. "I am grateful you trust me to prescribe for you."
"I must trust you as a physician, Brother Guy." I paused. "I think you were unhappy with what I said yesterday, regarding the funeral prayers".
He inclined his head. "I foloow your reasoning. You believe God is indifferent to forms of prayer."
"I belive slavation comes through God's grace. You do not agree? Come, let us forget my position for a minute and talk freely, as Christian scholars."
"Only as scholars? I have your word?"
"Yes, you do. God's bones, that mixture stinks."
"It needs to stew a little." He folded his arms. "I understand why the new ways have come to England. There has been muche corruption in the Church. But these matters could be dealt with by reform as has been done in Spain. Today thousands of Spanish friars are at work converting the heathens in the Americas, amidst terrible privations."
"I cannot imagine English friars in that setting."
"Nor can I. But Spain has shown reform is possible."
"And has its own Inquisition as a reward from the popoe."
"My fear is the English Church will not be reformed, but destroyed."
"What will be sestroyed, thought? What? The power of the papacy, the false doctrine of purgatory?"
"The king's Articles of Religion admit purgatory may exist."
"That is one reading. I believe purgatory is false. When we die salavation is by God's grace alone. The prayers of those left on earth do not matter a rush."
He shook his head. "But then, sir, how should a man strive to be saved?"
"If one has faith, charity will follow."
"Martin Luther holds that salavation is not really by faith at all, God predetermines before a soul is even born whether it will be saved or damned. That seems a cruel doctrine."
"So Luther interpreted St Paul, yes. I, and many others, say he is wrong."
"But if every man is allowed his own interpretation of the Bible, will not people bring forth such cruel philosophies everywhere? Shall we not have a Babel, chaos?"
"God will guide us."
He stood and faced me, his eyes dark with - what? Sadness? Despair? Brother Guy was always a hard man to read.
"Then you would strip away all?"
I nodded. "Yes, I would. Tell me, Brother, do you believe like old Brother Paul that the world is drifting towards its end, the Day of Judgment?"
"That has been the central doctrine of the Church since time immemorial."
I leaned forward. "But must that be? May not the world be transformed, made as God willed it?"
Brother Guy clasped his hands before him. "The Catholic Church has often been the only light of civilization in this world. Its doctrine and rituals unite man in fellowship with suffering humanity and all the Christian dead. And they urge him to charity: Jesu knows he needs urging. But your doctrine tells each man to find his own individual salvation through prayer and the Bible. Charity and fellowship then are lost."