As seyde hym-self, moore than a curát,
For of his ordre he was licenciat.
(= As he said himself, he was more than a parish priest, / Because his order was licensed to hear confessions.)
In Chaucer’s day, Friars were sometimes given special confessional duties not entrusted to parish priests. Chaucer’s narratorial ‘As seyde hym-self’, though, implies that the the Friar was making false claims about his authority in order to attract business— which is what confessions amounted to.
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