Adam's masterpiece on ecclesiastical power ranges from the orders of the angels, through to the power of the pope on earth. And in between he was not averse to dropping subtle hints about the direction in which his own earthly career might head. Here Adam waxes lyrical on the status of cardinals within the Church and why they are so important, and indeed true inheritors of a valid role in Christ's Church.
And of course he would be available to demonstrate the worth of such a role should it occur to anyone to consider him:
Admiror quod statum cardinalum et collocas ita alte cum secundum testimonia diversorum opinionum hactenus obtentarum nominorum episcopus huis mundi habet maiorem auctoritatem in ecclesia et iurisdiccione quam cardinalibus superior in hac vita et super hoc clamitant omnis libri. Item de episcoporum institutionibus evangelium Christi clamat. Sed de cardinalibus non loquitur unum verbum. Item vide episcopales antiquorum et invenies quod in scribendi archiepiscopi et episcopi cardinalibus se proponunt Item tempore sancti petri legitime quod episcopos instituiit et alii ampliam ad fecerunt sed de cardinalibus ubi tunc fuerant non est memoria nec scriptura.
I am in awe of the status of cardinals and would rate that status very highly according to the testimony of diverse others including well known names but a bishop of this world has greater authority in the church and its jurisdiction than do cardinals. A bishop is superior in this life and all the books agree on this point. Further the gospel of Christ says likewise about the institution of bishops. But about cardinals nothing is spoken. Look at the bishops of old (the episcopals of the ancients) and you will find that in their writings archbishops and bishops put themselves before cardinals. Similarly in the time of St Peter it is truly said that he instituted bishops and others added to their number, but of the cardinals, where they were at the time there is neither memory or writing.
Lego ecclesiam dei per spiritum sanctum regi et per ecclesiam in statibus antiquiis ordinata non possum leviter capere nec de eis nisi cum bono scrutinio iudicare quoniam secundum beatum Augustinium “De Confessi” evangelio starum non crederem evangelio nisi crederem ecclesie quoniam a christo multa de descendarent in ecclseia ordinata magis per testimentio ecclesia approbanda quam per scripturam sacram poterit inveniri et quia inferiorum omnis ierarchia debet ad superiorum similitudiem exemplari congrue videtur status in ecclesiam ponere sacrosancta secundum inventam similitudinariem in angelica ierarchia et quia status cardinalum in predictis quatuor decim condicionibus tribus superioribus angelorum ordinibus maxime simulatur. Videtur rationabilis quod in ecclesia instinctus spiritus sanctus ad eorum similitudinem inprimis fundebantur et horum similitudinem tempore Christi amplium quodammo quod tenuerunt primo prae quod beato petro universalis omnium jurisdiccio fundata ampliam tunc exeuntes nullam iurisdiccionem extrinsecam sed ad Christum et ad se invicem et (111r) ad alios habuerunt similitudines trius superiorum ordinum angelorum et ad modum hodie inventum dominorum cardinalium statum et ordines tenuerunt postea a petro in eos iurisdiccione suat dispertita et ut inter omnes terram exeunt fons eorum et in fines orbis terre verba eorum. Per diversas mundi plagas fuerunt amplius divisi pariter et transmissi alii tamen loco primi status eorum assumpti suerat et admissi. Qui status cardinalium et primi Christi discipulatus cum petro continue remanenserunt. De quibus et propter necessitatem ecclesie quandoque apostoli erant sancti istud verisimile debet esse cuiuslibet ratione et quod petrus numquam solus relictus fuerat in ad tempores persecutio et locum dabat quousque alios potuit ordinare et Paolus cum dicit amplius ad romanos xiii c. prepositorum vestrorum qui nobis locutur sunt verbum dei.
I read that the church of God is ruled through the Holy Spirit. I cannot easily understand those things ordained through the church in the ancient statutes, nor make judgement about them, except with careful scrutiny, since, according to the blessed Augustin’s “De Confessi” I should not believe in the gospel unless I also believe in the church. Since many things come down from Christ into the church have been laid down over and above the approved rulings of the church that can be found in the sacred scriptures. The whole hierarchy of inferior beings (on earth) should be mirrored by a similar hierarchy of superior beings (in heaven). This imposes a hierarchy on the church according to things we have found in the angelic hierarchy. And the status of cardinals in the aforesaid 14 levels (of the hierarchy) is most closely compared to the three higher orders of angels. It seems logical that the Holy Spirit was breathed into the church which was built according to this structure at the time of Christ. Whatever they (the church) believed at the beginning, all that was founded by the blessed Peter was applicable to all (ie all the church). They (Peter and his apostles) had no recourse to external jurisdiction but kept a similar structure through Christ, his replacement (peter) and then to others (the popes), carrying a similar structure like the three superior orders of angels just as the status which we find today among our lord cardinals. These ranks have been held in later times after Peter and they (the cardinals) and their words have spread into all the corners of the earth. They have been more widely spread through the various regions of the world in the same way and their status has been accepted. Their status as cardinals and first disciples of Chris has continued in the tradition of Peter. It was essential for the church at the time of the Holy Apostles that Peter was never left on his own in a time of persecution and he appointed in his place those that he could, as did Paul, as he in turn explained more fully in his letter to the Romans chapter XIII about those placed in authority speaking the word of God.
Vaticano biblioteca MS Vat Lat 4116