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The Church and the Empire by D. J. Medley

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[Sidenote: Final failure of Frederick.]

Frederick entered Italy in 1174 with small chance of success, for his
army was composed of mercenaries, and many of the leading German
nobles, notably his cousin Henry the Lion, refused to accompany him.
He exhausted all the resources of his military art in a vain attempt
to take the new fortress of Alessandria. The jealousies within the
League made negotiations possible, but these broke down because
Frederick refused to recognise Alessandria as a member of the League
or to include Pope Alexander in any peace made with the cities. But
the end was at hand. When at length the forces met at Legnano on May
29, 1176, the militia of the League won a decisive victory. All
possibility of direct coercion was gone, and Frederick was forced to
consider seriously a change of policy. His only chance of good terms
lay in dividing his enemies. He applied to Alexander, who refused to
separate his cause from that of his allies, though he allowed that the
terms might be arranged in secret. This was done. Frederick undertook
to recognise Alexander and to restore all the papal possessions. For
the allies, peace would be made with Sicily for fifteen years; the
Lombards should have a truce for six years. After much negotiation
Venice was agreed upon for a general congress of all the parties to
the contest, and Frederick was forced to promise that he would not
enter the city without the Pope's consent. Up to the last he hoped
that mutual suspicion would divide his allies. But the terms of peace
were agreed upon among the allies on the bases already mentioned; then
Frederick was admitted into Venice, and a dramatic reconciliation
between Pope and Emperor was enacted (July 25, 1177). Frederick
returned to Germany at the end of the year.

[Sidenote: Triumph of Alexander.]

The schism was over, the anti-Pope submitted, and Alexander's
conciliatory policy opened the way for his return to Rome. The Pope
signalised the close of the long schism of eighteen years by gathering
in 1179 a General Council, distinguished as the Third Lateran Council,
to which came nearly a thousand ecclesiastics from various parts of
Christendom. The chief canon promulgated placed the papal election
exclusively in the hands of the cardinals, and ordained that a
two-thirds majority of the whole College should suffice for a valid
election. During the rest of his reign Alexander was occupied in
mediating between Henry II and his sons, and between Henry and Louis
of France. He died, again an exile from Rome, on August 30, 1181. His
long pontificate is one of the most eventful in papal history. He was
matched against an opponent who not only aimed at reviving the
imperial claims, but was himself a man of imperial character. The
difficulties of the situation might have seemed overwhelming. Where
Gregory VII failed Alexander succeeded. Tact, not force, was the
quality required. The infinite patience and long tenacity of Alexander
met their reward. The Emperor was forced to violate the solemn oath he
had sworn at Wurzburg in 1165, never to acknowledge Alexander or his
successors, and never to seek absolution from this oath. The Pope had
successfully asserted his claim to the civil government of Rome and to
many other purely temporal possessions.

[Sidenote: Frederick's new move.]

Once more Frederick crossed the Alps. He had crushed his formidable
cousin, Henry the Lion, and banished him from Germany; he had turned
the truce with the Lombards into the Peace of Constance by acquiescing
in the loss of the imperial rights for which he had fought. His eldest
son, Henry, had been crowned King of Germany as long ago as 1168.
Frederick was now anxious to secure for him the succession to the
imperial title, and hoped to find the Pope willing to crown Henry as
his father's colleague in the Empire. But although Lucius III,
Alexander's successor (1181-5), had been driven from Rome, and was
dependent on the Emperor's help, it was impossible for him or for any
Pope to agree to Frederick's wish. Two emperors at once were a
manifest absurdity, and Frederick was not likely to accept the Pope's
suggestion that he should resign in favour of his son. Moreover, there
lay between Pope and Emperor the still unsettled question of the
inheritance of the Countess Matilda. It was clear that the quarrel
must shortly be renewed. By the nature of the respective claims there
could never be more than a temporary truce. Lucius died, but his
successor, Urban III, was yet more irreconcilable. Meanwhile Frederick
had resolved on an act which would make the breach between Papacy and
Empire irreparable. The King of Sicily was William II "the Good." His
marriage to a daughter of Henry II of England (1177) had proved
childless, and the succession seemed likely to fall to Constance,
daughter of King Roger and aunt of the reigning King. She was over
thirty years of age. Frederick's defeat in 1174 had been due to his
failure to divide his enemies. Now, however, he had his chance. The
Lombards, having got all that they wanted, were quite favourable to
him. He planned to win Sicily also by a marriage between his youthful
son Henry and the almost middle-aged heiress Constance. A party in
Sicily helped him; and the marriage and the coronation of the happy
pair as King and Queen of Italy took place at Milan in January, 1186.
Not only had the Emperor knocked away the staff upon which the Papacy
had been disposed to lean its arm for more than a century; but he had
actually picked it up and proposed to use it in the future for the
purpose of belabouring the Popes. Moreover, he had really secured his
object of a hereditary empire; for Henry, now King with his father in
Germany and in Italy, must needs succeed to all the paternal honours.
In vain Urban tried to raise up a party against the Emperor; and the
sentence of excommunication, which at length he had determined to
pronounce, was stopped only by the death of the Pope on October 20,

[Sidenote: Frederick's death.]

It was, however, chance and not the policy of the Emperor that averted
the inevitable conflict. On July 5 the Christians of Palestine had
suffered a crushing defeat at the battle of Hittim or Tiberias at the
hand of Saladin, and on October 3 the Mohammedan conqueror entered
Jerusalem. The quarrel was necessarily suspended, and a new crusade
was preached with such success that in May, 1189, Frederick set out
for Palestine, to be followed a year later by the Kings of France and
England. But the Emperor never reached the Holy Land. He made his way
by Constantinople and Iconium into Cilicia, and there not far from
Tarsus he disappeared, apparently drowned while crossing or bathing in
a river.

[Sidenote: The new contest.]

With the great Emperor's death the contest between Papacy and Empire
enters on a new phase. It is typical of this phase that the one
outstanding question between the two powers after the Peace of Venice
was the question of Tuscany. For the quarrel was now almost entirely
political, and was becoming more and more confined to Italian
politics. The imperial attempt to subdue Italy to Germany had failed,
and it remained for the Emperor to make it impossible for the Pope to
live at Rome except as a dependant of the German King. With Tuscany,
Lombardy, and Sicily under the imperial control, there was no room for
papal action in Italy. In a contest of abstract principles the Emperor
had entirely failed to subdue the Pope; and the interest and
importance of the contest between Frederick and Alexander lay in the
fact that each was the representative of an idea. This is no doubt the
reason why Frederick's failure did not damage his prestige. But he had
learnt that he could not set the abstract claims of the Empire against
those of the Papacy. The former did not appeal to any one beyond the
limits of Germany; whereas the latter could count on sympathy in every
country of Western Europe. Frederick, therefore, made no more appeals
to Europe. His disputes with the Papacy were now individual matters:
they were contests of policy, not of principle, and he would not
hesitate to turn circumstances to his advantage. Perhaps, fortunately
for Frederick's reputation, he did nothing more than inaugurate this
policy. But it was a policy which essentially suited the peculiar
genius of his successor.

[Sidenote: Henry VI.]

As soon as Frederick had started for Palestine Henry was plunged in
difficulties. Henry the Lion returned from banishment and raised a
disturbance. A few months later William II of Sicily died, and Pope
Clement III (1187-91) immediately invested with the kingdom Tancred,
Count of Lecce, an illegitimate member of the Hauteville family, who
had been elected by the party opposed to the German influence. On the
top of these difficulties came the news of Frederick's death. There
was thus a double reason for an expedition to Italy--Henry must assert
his wife's claim to the throne of Sicily, and he must do this without
quarrelling with the Pope, from whom he must obtain the imperial
crown. His first expedition was only a formal success. Pope Celestine
III (1191-8), who took office just after Henry entered Italy, dared
not refuse to crown him emperor, nor could he prevent Henry from
either courting the Roman Commune with success or prosecuting his
claim to the Sicilian crown. But Henry failed before Naples: his army
was decimated by the plague, and his wife fell into Tancred's hands.

[Sidenote: His success in Italy.]

This ill-success revived the Guelf opposition in Germany, whose most
powerful supporter was Henry the Lion's brother-in-law, Richard of
England. Richard on his way to Palestine had made an alliance with
Tancred against the common Hohenstaufen enemy. But returning from
crusade Richard fell into the hands of Leopold of Austria. Leopold was
forced to hand him over to the Emperor, and the anti-Hohenstaufen
alliance fell to pieces. For whatever reason, Henry kept the English
King for more than a year, and turned a deaf ear to the papal
remonstrances against his detention of a crusader. Fortified by the
failure of the threatened combination against him, and by the money
from Richard's ransom, Henry returned to Italy. Fortune favoured him
at every turn. Since he left Italy Tancred and his eldest son had
died, and Henry found no difficulty in getting hold of the youthful
son of Tancred, who had been placed upon the throne under his mother's
regency. Apulia and Sicily were overrun. The toils were closing round
the Pope. Celestine had excommunicated all concerned in Richard's
imprisonment until they should have restored his ransom. Thus by
implication Henry was excommunicate. The money had been spent in
subduing the papal fief of Sicily; while Henry further made his
brother Philip Marquis of Tuscany, and planted his followers about in
the lands of the Church. Yet Celestine did not dare to pronounce the
fatal sentence against the Emperor directly.

[Sidenote: His imperial schemes.]

Henry meditated one more step which would have rendered the Pope
powerless. Frederick, with the mere prospect of the Sicilian
succession for his son, desired to make the imperial title hereditary;
much more was Henry, the active sovereign of Sicily, anxious to
accomplish this. The lay princes could have been bribed to consent by
the recognition of hereditary succession to their fiefs. But the
German ecclesiastics, with the Pope at their back, had no desire to
increase the power of the Emperor, and the utmost that Henry could
secure was the election as German King, and therefore King of the
Romans, of his two-year-old son Frederick.

[Sidenote: His death.]

Henry's projects stretched out beyond the lands under his rule. The
death of Saladin encouraged the idea of a new crusade. Henry as
crusader might propitiate the Pope. But such an expedition once
started might have been diverted, as indeed happened a few years
later, for an attack upon Constantinople, which should lead to the
union of both empires under the ambitious Hohenstaufen. Pretexts were
not wanting. Henry collected a number of German crusaders upon the
coast of Italy, and many of these had actually sailed for Palestine
when everything was changed by Henry's sudden death on September 28,
1197. He had reigned eight years, and was only thirty-two years of
age. Despite his youthful age and his short reign he had raised the
imperial power to a height which it had scarcely ever touched before
and which it was never to reach again. Endowed with ability at least
equal to his father's, his very selfishness and ruthlessness gave him
a success denied to his predecessor. All Henry's acts were associated
with his own aggrandisement, and the result shows that the Papacy no
less than the Empire was dependent for its influence chiefly upon the
personality of the holder of the office. Henry had to deal at Rome
with Popes of inferior capacity. Had Innocent III been elected a few
years earlier, the tragedy of Anagni--the maltreatment of Boniface
VIII by the emissaries of the King of France--might have been
anticipated by a century.



[Sidenote: The new Pope.]

Celestine III died less than four months after the Emperor Henry VI,
and the centre of interest immediately shifted from the Empire to the
Papacy. For, in their desire to shut out the Roman clergy and people
from any share in the election, the Cardinals made haste to find a
successor. As it happened, the object of their choice was also the
favourite of the Roman people. Lothair of Segni was the youngest of
the Cardinals, being only thirty-seven years of age. He was sprung
from a German family which had settled in the tenth century in the
Campagna. He had studied in Paris and Bologna, and had been made
Cardinal by his uncle, Clement III. Celestine was of the rival family
of Orsini, and during his reign the young Cardinal remained in
retirement and consoled himself by writing a book on the _Despite of
the World_. Thus he was young, noble, wealthy, and distinguished.
He showed his power of self-control at once by doing nothing to
shorten the canonical time before his consecration as priest and
bishop; while the magnificence of the coronation ceremonies typified
the view which he took of the office and position.

[Sidenote: The condition of Europe.]

The work of Innocent III was European in importance, and he found his
opportunity in the disturbed condition of the time. The rivalry of
Ghibelline and Guelf in Germany and Italy, and the rivalry of the
houses of Capet and Plantagenet in France, forbade any concerted
action on the part of Christendom, whether against pagans on the
eastern frontier of Germany or against Mohammedans in Spain or Syria.
Hungary and Poland were both in a state of ferment; in Spain the
Almohades from Morocco were making serious advances. Saladin's death
might seem to offer a peculiarly favourable chance of recovering for
Christendom what had been so recently lost. But the Empire was
divided; England and France neutralised each other, the Eastern Empire
was weakened by the success of an usurper, the knightly orders were
quarrelling with each other. And this state of disunion was not the
most dangerous feature of the moment. The moral condition of Europe
was seldom worse. Philip of France had repudiated his Danish wife,
Ingebiorg, apparently for no more valid reason than that he liked some
one better; Alfonso of Castile took his own half-sister to wife.
Oriental manners, imported from Palestine or learnt from commercial
intercourse in the Mediterranean, seemed to be invading the furthest
regions of the West. Perhaps to the same influence may be attributed
the spread of religious heresies. Much of this was provoked by direct
antagonism to a powerful and corrupt Church; but the actual form
assumed by the positive beliefs of those who organised themselves
apart from the Catholic Church were largely Oriental in character.

Everything combined to encourage Innocent's interference, and it may
be pointed out at once that his success was largely due to the selfish
ambitions and desires of the lay princes, which enabled him to pose as
the undoubted representative of moral force organised in the Church.
In all his most important acts he was the mouthpiece of popular
opinion. Thus his contest with Philip of France in favour of the
repudiated Ingebiorg commanded the sympathy of every right-thinking
person in Europe; his desire for the separation of Italy and Germany
under different rulers was popular in Italy; while to attempt an union
of the Churches of East and West, to crush out heresy in the south of
France and elsewhere, to promote a new crusade in the East, were all
regarded as duties falling strictly within the papal sphere.

[His claim for the Papacy.]

The importance of this great activity lies in the fact that it was
based upon the most advanced theories of papal power. It was the
controversy over lay investiture which first caused the defenders of
the Church to formulate their views of the sphere of ecclesiastical
influence as against the influence of the secular authority. But the
extreme claims put forward for the Papacy as the head of the Church,
by Gregory VII and his followers, had provoked the counter definitions
of the jurists of Bologna on behalf of the imperial power. But the
claim of universal dominion by the Emperor was contradicted by facts,
and never rose above the dignity of an academic thesis; whereas in the
century which elapsed from the days of Gregory VII to those of
Innocent III the papal power was becoming an increasing reality in the
Church. It is indeed a little difficult to see wherein it was possible
for any successor of Gregory VII to make an advance upon the claims
put forward by that Pope. Gregory in fond of pointing out that the
power of binding and loosing given to St. Peter was absolutely
comprehensive, including all persons and secular as well as spiritual
matters. Innocent tells the Patriarch of Constantinople that the Lord
left to Peter not only the whole Church, but the whole world to
govern. To the Karolingian age it was the Emperor who was the Vicar of
God. The Church reformers, while attacking this title, do not seem to
have claimed in words for the Pope a higher title than Vicar of St.
Peter. Innocent, however, more than once asserts that he is the
representative "not of mere man, but of very God." In fact, such
development as is to be found in the papal office during the twelfth
century consists merely in making rather more explicit positions which
have already been asserted. Gregory, in writing to William the
Conqueror, had used the figures of the sun and moon to illustrate the
relations of Church and State. Innocent draws out the analogy in much
detail: "As God, the builder of the universe, has set up two lights in
the firmament of heaven, the greater light to rule the day and the
lesser light to rule the night, so for the firmament of the universal
Church, which is called by the name of heaven, He has set up two great
dignities, the greater to rule souls, as it were days, and the lesser
to rule bodies, as it were nights; and these are priestly authority
and royal power. Further, as the moon obtains its light from the sun,
seeing that it is really the lesser both in quantity and quality, and
also in position and influence, so royal power obtains the splendour
of its dignity from priestly authority." He points out on another
occasion that "individual kings have individual kingdoms, but Peter is
over all, as in fulness so also in breadth, because he is the Vicar of
Him whose is the earth and the fulness thereof, the round world and
they that dwell therein. Further, as the priesthood excels in dignity,
so it precedes in antiquity. Both kingdom and priesthood," he allows,
"were instituted among the people of God; but," he adds, "while the
priesthood was instituted by divine ordinance, the kingdom came into
existence through the importunity of man." Hence it is not strange
that "not only in the Patrimony of the Church, but also in other
spheres, we occasionally exercise temporal jurisdiction," for "he to
whom God says in Peter, 'Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, etc.',
is His Vicar, who is priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek,
ordained by God to be judge of the quick and the dead."

[Sidenote: He secures power in Rome.]

But while the Pope assumed this all-embracing position, a considerable
share of his energies was absorbed in a very small and purely selfish
matter--the extension of the temporal dominion of the Papacy; and the
use for this personal object of the great powers which men willingly
acknowledged in the Pope as the upholder of the standard of morality
greatly prejudiced the success of Innocent's policy elsewhere. In its
origin this was a policy of self-preservation. The civil government of
Rome was in the hands of a prefect representing the Emperor and a
senator who was the spokesman of the Commune. The Pope was either a
prisoner or a nonentity in his own capital. The Empire being in
abeyance, it was not difficult to transform the prefect into a papal
officer, but a greater triumph was the nomination of the senator, for
it carried the ultimate control over the municipality, and thus
undermined the power of the Commune, which had paralysed the papal
influence in Rome for nearly sixty years. This signal victory was not
gained without a struggle. The democratic party even drove the Pope
from the city for a time; but by 1205, Innocent, by apparent
concessions and the use of bribery, had won his end.

[Sidenote: Central Italy.]

Meanwhile an even more important movement had been accomplished. The
centre of the peninsula outside the Patrimony of St. Peter was in the
hands Of Henry VI's German followers. One was driven from Spoleto,
another from Ravenna, and both these districts were added to the papal
dominions. Tuscany had been made over to Henry VI's brother, Philip;
but he went off to secure the German crown, and his subjects did
homage to the Pope. There existed, however, a League of Tuscan cities,
and the Pope, leaving to them their independence, merely accepted the
office of President of the League. It was the addition of these
substantial dominions to the lands of the Patrimony which, as between
Pope and Emperor, effectually solved the question of the
long-contested Matildan inheritance, and laid the foundation of the
temporal dominions of the Papacy as they remained until 1860.

[Sidenote: South Italy.]

The German influence also threatened to be paramount in the south of
the peninsula. For Henry VI, while giving to Queen Constance the
nominal regency during the minority of their son Frederick, took care
that the real authority should be in the hands of his German
followers. Constance, however, had no desire for the continued union
of the German and Sicilian crowns; and here she found a staunch
supporter in the Pope. First with Celestine, and then with Innocent,
she entered into close relations. Frederick took the old Norman oath
of vassalage for his dominions; and when Innocent confirmed the title,
he compelled Constance in return to surrender the ecclesiastical
privileges connected with elections, legatine visits, appeals, and
councils originally granted by Urban II to Count Roger of Sicily, and
to promise an annual tribute. The Pope, however, aided her to clear
her country of the Germans, many of whom he afterwards again hunted
from Central Italy. It was natural, therefore, that on her death in
November, 1198, Constance should commend her child to the guardianship
of Innocent. Innocent himself was far too much occupied to take the
personal direction of affairs, and eight years of incessant warfare
(1200-8) were necessary before the German influence could be finally
got rid of, and then Innocent secured his influence through a regency
of native nobles under the presidency of his own brother.

[Sidenote: The contest in Germany.]

Even on the German side there was little need to anticipate that the
two crowns of Germany and Sicily would remain united. The nobles were
scarcely likely to keep their promise of crowning Henry's young son.
He was a mere child, three years of age; not yet baptised, perhaps
because his father was excommunicate; brought up in Italy and in the
hands of Italians; a protege of the Pope. Thus his uncle Philip was
easily persuaded by the Hohenstaufen supporters in Germany to take the
place intended for his nephew, and was chosen and crowned as King of
Germany (March, 1198). But the enemies of the Hohenstaufen could not
let the opportunity go by, and three months later, at the suggestion
of Richard of England, they elected and crowned his nephew, Otto of
Brunswick, a son of Henry the Lion of Saxony, whom Richard had made
Count of Poitou and York. Thus was revived the struggle between
Ghibelline and Guelf.

[Sidenote: Innocent's decision.]

Innocent undertook the decision of the question as a matter belonging
to his sphere, "chiefly because it was the Apostolic See which
transferred the Empire from the east to the west, and lastly because
the same See grants the crown of the Empire." In the divided condition
of Germany much depended on his attitude. It was scarcely likely that
he would accept a Hohenstaufen who was lord of Tuscany. But Philip was
the nominee of the most numerous and important section of the German
nobles, while the death of Richard of England (1199) deprived Otto of
his chief supporter. As Gregory VII on a similar occasion, so now
Innocent delayed his decision between the rivals until he could make
up his mind that Otto had some chance of success. Meanwhile he did
everything to prejudice the minds of the German people against Philip,
who, as the holder of lands claimed by the Papacy, was already
excommunicate. After three years of deliberation Innocent declared
himself. Otto paid a heavy price for the decision in his favour. By
the Capitulation of Neuss (June, 1201) he swore to protect to the
utmost all the possessions, honours, and rights of the Roman Church,
both those which it already held and those which he would help it to
recover. The extent of land was defined as including not only the
Patrimony of St. Peter (from Radicofani to Ceperano), but also the
Exarchate, the Pentapolis, the March of Ancona, the Duchy of Spoleto,
and the territories of the Countess Matilda.

[Sidenote: Innocent III and Philip Augustus of France.]

But in the course of the next few years Innocent was obliged to take
up a totally different attitude in this struggle in consequence of
disappointments elsewhere. There were two such which fell especially
heavily upon him during the first half of his reign. He inherited from
his predecessor a quarrel with Philip Augustus of France. Philip lost
his first wife in 1190; in 1193 his designs against England caused him
to marry Ingebiorg, a sister of the King of Denmark. Immediately after
the marriage he took a dislike to her, refused to live with her, and
obtained from an assembly of his own clergy a sentence of divorce,
founded on an allegation of some very distant relationship between him
and his new wife. Ingebiorg and her brother appealed to Pope Celestine
III, who declared the sentence of divorce illegal and null. Philip not
only paid no attention to the numerous letters and legates of the
Pope, but he tried to make the divorce irrevocable by taking a new
wife. After several rebuffs he found in Agnes of Meran, the daughter
of a Bavarian noble, one who was willing to accept the dubious
position (1196). Innocent III at once took up an uncompromising
attitude, and instructed his legates that if Philip refused to send
away Agnes and to restore Ingebiorg, they should put the kingdom under
an interdict preparatory to a sentence of personal excommunication
against Philip and Agnes themselves. Those bishops who dared to
publish the interdict were seriously maltreated by the King; but after
nine months of resistance the distress of his people at the cessation
of religious services caused him to submit; he pretended to take back
Ingebiorg, and the interdict was raised (1200). But he did not send
away Agnes, and a renewal of the interdict was only averted by Agnes'
death in 1201. Innocent, desiring to be conciliatory, actually
declared Agnes' two children legitimate. Philip still, however,
pressed for a divorce from Ingebiorg, declaring that he was bewitched
by her. After his victory over John of England in 1204 he became more
than ever obdurate to papal remonstrances, and he even contemplated a
new marriage. Innocent was not in a position to drive him to extremes,
and was obliged to temporise for a time. Eventually, however, he
reduced Philip to submission.

[Sidenote: The Fourth Crusade.]

But Innocent suffered more definite defeat in the matter of the
Crusade. The crusading fervour had much diminished, and it has been
pointed out as characteristic of the age that a fourth crusade was
determined on at a tournament in Champagne in 1199. Celestine III had
vainly tried to rouse the interest of Europe, but the preaching of
Fulk, the priest of Neuilly, recalled the efforts and the success of
Peter the Hermit and St. Bernard. Innocent III lent his whole
influence to the enterprise. But from the first everything seemed to
go contrary to his wishes. The death of Theobald of Champagne (1201),
who was the papal nominee for the leadership, placed at the head of
the crusaders Boniface, Marquis of Montserrat, an Italian and kinsman
of Philip of France and a typical representative of the worst side of
feudalism. From that moment Innocent lost all control over the
expedition. Instead of going directly to the Holy Land, the barons
decided to attack the Mohammedan power in Egypt--perhaps the sounder
policy. They made an agreement with the Venetians to find the shipping
for the host in return for a large sum of money. But the long delay
caused many crusaders to set off to the Holy Land; so that when the
main force arrived at Venice it was so diminished in numbers that the
leaders could not raise the sum for which they had pledged themselves
to Venice. Probably there was no deep-laid plot for the diversion of
the crusading host from the first. But the Venetians suddenly found
themselves with the practical direction of a formidable army; they had
enemies in the Adriatic against whom they had hitherto been powerless;
they had old causes of rivalry and enmity with Constantinople. At the
same time King Philip of Germany was urging the cause of his
brother-in-law, who had been deposed from the Byzantine throne. The
crusaders, unwilling to disperse and unable to insist, allowed
themselves to be diverted, first to an attack upon Zara, a nest of
pirates in the Adriatic, although it belonged to the King of Hungary,
who was himself a crusader; and then to Constantinople, which they
ultimately captured (1204), and where they set up a Latin Empire.
Innocent did everything to prevent this diversion of his cherished
scheme. He forbade the attack upon Zara, he excommunicated the
Venetians for going to Constantinople, and threatened the whole host
with the same penalty. But he was powerless. The few in the army who
were moved by some of the crusading spirit were overruled; and when
the papal legates for the expedition to Palestine joined the army at
Constantinople, all thought of going on to Palestine was abandoned.
Innocent was forced to accept what was done and to console himself
with the thought of the blow thus dealt to the Eastern Church.

[Sidenote: Innocent's difficulty.]

These rebuffs seriously diminished Innocent's influence in Europe for
a time. Moreover, Innocent soon had reason to regret his championship
of Otto. Philip was wealthy and personally popular, while Otto's
brusquerie and selfishness alienated many supporters. Consequently
from 1203 Philip distinctly obtained the upper hand, and at length in
1207 Innocent opened negotiations with him. But these were rendered
futile when Philip fell victim to the assassin's knife in June, 1208.
Otto's acceptance now became inevitable, and he did everything to
conciliate his opponents. He submitted himself to a fresh election by
the German nobles, and won the Hohenstaufen by marrying Beatrice, the
daughter of his late rival. He made new concessions to the Pope, which
practically amounted to a renunciation of the powers confirmed to the
Emperor in the matter of elections by the Concordat of Worms; he
undertook to give up the right of spoils and to help in the
eradication of heresy. And all this he promised because he was "King
of the Romans by the grace of God and of the Pope."

[Sidenote: Otto's designs.]

But Otto's acceptance was only the beginning of the end. He knew that
he owed his position merely to the accident of Philip's death and to
the absence of any eligible Hohenstaufen candidate. He had therefore
no feelings of gratitude towards Innocent. Moreover, he was now
surrounded by Ghibelline influences, and was anxious to be crowned
emperor. Thus, despite his promises of 1201 and 1209, to recover to
the Papacy all the lands and rights which it claimed, he began to
realise that the task to which he must give himself was the
restoration of the connection between Italy and Germany, which had
been entirely broken since Henry VI's death. In fact, this Guelf
prince took up the work of the Hohenstaufen. When, therefore, Otto and
Innocent met in Italy a year later, Otto declined to give more than a
verbal promise that after his coronation he would do what was right.
Innocent, in return, did not refuse the crown indeed, but made a new
departure in naming Otto Emperor without consecrating him as such, and
thus denied to him the divinity of the imperial office (October,

[Sidenote: Otto's success.]

Otto immediately set to work. He recovered for the Empire all the
lands of Central Italy which Innocent had already annexed to the papal
dominions, including, of course, the Matildan inheritance; he made the
Roman Prefect an imperial officer again; and entering into alliance
with the German followers of Henry VI, who had never been entirely
dislodged from the southern kingdom, he overran Apulia and prepared,
by the aid of a fleet lent by Pisa, to pass over into Sicily. Innocent
did everything in his power to check the conqueror. He excommunicated
him (August, 1210); in conjunction with Philip Augustus of France, the
old ally of Henry VI, he roused disaffection against Otto among the
German nobles. Innocent was somewhat taken aback when Otto's subjects,
finding that the Pope in his anathema had absolved them from their
fealty to the King, held Otto as deposed, and proceeded to elect in
his place the young Frederick Roger, Henry VI's son and the papal
ward, who was already King of Sicily. This choice also threatened to
produce that very union of Germany and Italy which Otto was bent on
accomplishing. But the need of checking Otto forced Innocent to
acquiesce, and Frederick did everything to allay the papal fears.

[Sidenote: Innocent and Frederick.]

Since Frederick could not stop Otto's progress in the south, it was
arranged that he should go north to Germany in the hope of drawing
Otto away. Before he left, Frederick had his young child Henry
crowned, as an earnest that he did not intend to join the kingdom he
was going to seek with that which he already held. He passed through
Rome on his way north, and Innocent obtained from him a repetition of
his liege homage for Sicily and a promise that the two kingdoms should
be kept separate. In return Innocent gave him the title of "Emperor
elect by the grace of God and of the Pope," and supplied him with
money. Innocent thus hoped that he had taken every precaution to avoid
the dangers which he feared, while Frederick, young and inexperienced,
seems to have accepted the conditions willingly and to have intended
to keep them. His ambition and the unexpected prospects thus opened to
him led him on regardless of consequences.

[Sidenote: Otto's failure.]

Frederick's move was perfectly successful. Otto rushed back to
Germany, and the death of his wife Beatrice did away with any
obligations of loyalty which the partisans of the Hohenstaufen might
have felt towards him. Frederick was elected and crowned (December,
1212), and renewed the old Hohenstaufen league with France. Otto
turned for help to his uncle, John of England. John was excommunicate,
but now made his peace with the Pope. Philip, at first encouraged by
Innocent to attack England and then after John's submission forbidden
to go, turned his arms against Flanders. A coalition was formed
against him, and was joined by John and by Otto; but Philip's victory
at Bouvines (July, 1214) broke up the coalition and put an end to
Otto's hopes. For the four years of life which remained to him his
power was confined to Brunswick.

[Sidenote: Frederick's acceptance.]

Meanwhile Frederick had, as it were, put the crown upon his work of
submission to the Papacy. By the Golden Bull (July, 1213), he repeated
the promises which Otto had made at Neuss in 1201 with the additions
of 1209. In 1215 he went through a second and more formal coronation
at Aachen, and took the cross in conjunction with a number of German
nobles. In 1216 he further promised, in a formal deed, that in return
for the imperial crown his son Henry should become King of Sicily,
entirely independently from himself and under the supremacy of the
Roman Church. Thus Frederick in his eagerness put himself completely
in the hands of the Papacy.

[Sidenote: Innocent and England.]

Otto's cause had been linked with that of his uncle John, over whom
Innocent won the greatest of his victories. On a vacancy in the see of
Canterbury (1206) the right of election was disputed, as usual,
between the monks of the monastery of Christchurch at Canterbury and
the bishops of the province. King John thrust in his nominee. Innocent
settled the matter by making an appointment of his own. But John
refused to accept Stephen Langton; and Innocent proceeded to force his
consent. In 1208 the country was laid under an interdict; and John
treated the bishops who published it as Philip Augustus had treated
the French bishops ten years before. In 1209 Innocent excommunicated
John, and in 1212 declared him deposed. Despite the continued
obstinacy of Philip of France in the matter of Ingebiorg, Innocent
called upon him to execute the papal sentence; and Philip, thinking
that the aid of Denmark would be useful, ended the twenty years'
dispute and accorded to Ingebiorg the position of Queen for the rest
of his reign. It was certainly a measure of the growing strength of
the royal power in France that it had been able to defy the Papacy for
so long in a matter in which the King was so clearly in the wrong.
Philip's threatened attack brought John to his knees; and in 1213 he
not only accepted Stephen Langton, but even surrendered his kingdom to
the Papacy to receive it back as a papal fief, and undertook to pay an
annual tribute. The sequel was not quite so satisfactory for Innocent.
The surrender to the Pope and the defeat at Bouvines so enraged the
barons and clergy in England that they combined to force John to sign
Magna Carta (1215). But John was now under the protection of the Pope;
and although Innocent's own archbishop took the lead in the movement
against John, Innocent issued a bull in condemnation of the charter;
but so long as John lived, even the interdict and excommunication
which followed failed to move the barons. Innocent's successors reaped
the benefit of his triumph in the influence which they were able to
exert in England during the greater part of the reign of Henry III.

[Sidenote: Innocent's successes in Europe.]

Nor was John the only King who laid his crown at the feet of the Pope.
Peter, King of Aragon, hoped to escape the claims of the King of
Castile and the tyranny of his own barons by making his kingdom
tributary to the Papacy. Prince John of Bulgaria actually asked for
and obtained a royal crown from Innocent. The struggles of Sancho,
King of Portugal, to free himself from the submission made by a
predecessor ended in failure. Leo, King of Armenia, sought the papal
protection against the crusaders. The King of Denmark appealed to
Innocent on behalf of his much-wronged sister. The contending parties
in Hungary listened to his mediation.

But we have already seen that Innocent was not always successful, and
that most of his successes were won only after a prolonged contest.
Their matrimonial irregularities brought him into conflict with nearly
all the Christian Kings of Spain, and the kingdom of Leon was struck
by an interdict which was not removed for five years. It was a more
serious matter for the future that the papal acts for the first time
roused the opposition of the people in more than one instance; while
it is right to notice that Innocent often got acknowledgment of his
claim to adjudicate by accepting what had already been done. But
despite some notable failures, he did meet with considerable success;
and since he got so much, it is not surprising that he aimed at more.
Perhaps the greatest disappointment of his life was the failure of the
Fourth Crusade. Innocent found some compensation in the great victory
won by the united chivalry of Spain and France over the Almohades on
the field of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212. But he is responsible for
inventing a new kind of crusade--that of Christians against
Christians--in the undoubtedly papal duty of dealing with the
Albigensian heretics; and it is, in modern eyes at least, a small
condonation that he encouraged the founder of the Dominicans and
received Francis of Assisi with sympathy.

[Sidenote: The Fourth Lateran Council.]

Innocent's pontificate ended in a blaze of glory. After the settlement
of the strife in Germany he called together a Council which is
distinguished as the Fourth Lateran or the Twelfth OEcumenical
Council. It met in 1215, and was composed of more than two thousand
persons, including envoys from all the chief nations of Europe. Its
resolutions were embodied in seventy canons dealing with a vast
variety of subjects in the endeavour to bring about a drastic
reformation of the Church. This is perhaps Innocent's most solid claim
to the name of a great ruler. But it only serves to emphasise the
wholly external nature of his rule. And subsequent ages have
recognised this limitation to his claims for honour in that, while
they have freely accorded to him the name of a great man and a great
Pope, if not the greatest of the pontiffs, the Church has never added
his name to the role of Christian saints.



[Sidenote: The basis of papal claims.]

The interest of the period with which we are dealing is largely
concerned with the attempted definition of the relations between
Church and State. The peculiar form of mediaeval thought resolved this
into a struggle of the papal power to make itself supreme over all
temporal rulers. But scarcely less important or interesting is the
concomitant effort of the Papacy to gather up into itself the whole
immediate authority of the Church.

This effort was very materially helped by the fact that various
national churches which had retained their own customs were gradually
brought into communion with Rome. William the Conqueror put an end to
the schism which had cut off the Anglo-Saxon Church from Rome, and
drew the Church in England into closer contact with Rome than she had
enjoyed since the days of Archbishop Theodore. Through Queen Margaret,
the Anglo-Saxon wife of Malcolm Canmore, Roman customs superseded
those of the Celtic Church in Scotland. Gregory VII prevailed on the
Spanish churches to accept the Roman for the Mozarabic liturgy.
Alexander III attracted to Rome the long-isolated Church in Ireland,
and Innocent II reconciled the Milanese at last to the papal
supremacy. The foundation for the high claims on the part of the
Papacy rested on what are known as the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals.
Decretals are answers to questions referred to the Bishop of Rome from
other churches. The earliest of these was of date 385. Compilations of
the Canons of the Church, in which these answers were included, were
put out in the sixth and the seventh centuries, the latter under the
name of Bishop Isidore of Seville. In the middle of the ninth century
appeared a third compilation, also published under the name of
Isidore, and containing fifty-nine additional letters and decrees of
earlier date than 385. Inasmuch as the Latin edition of the Bible,
which St. Jerome did not translate until about the year 400, is quoted
in some of these, this compilation has not unnaturally been styled the
False or Forged or Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals. The object of this
forgery was the exaltation of the Papacy as "the supreme lord,
lawgiver, and judge of the Church," since all previous claims were
brought together and were referred back to the foundation of
Christianity. Two centuries later another document of doubtful
authenticity, called _Dictatus Papae_, sets forth in a
sufficiently true spirit the principles proclaimed by Gregory VII.
This states, among other things, that the Roman pontiff can alone be
called Universal, that his name is unique in the world, that he ought
to be judged by none; and it ascribes to him, without the intervention
of any intermediary, the supreme and immediate power in all executive,
legislative, and judicial matters.

[Sidenote: The Pope: the sole authority in the Church.]

The history of the Church during the two succeeding centuries is
merely an exemplification of these claims. It was in the spirit of
this document that Innocent II, in the speech with which he opened the
Second Lateran Council in 1139, reminded his hearers that Rome was the
head of the world, and that the highest ecclesiastical offices were
derived from the Roman pontiff as by a kind of feudal right, and could
not he lawfully held without his permission. Innocent III, we have
seen, describes himself as the Vicar of God or of Jesus Christ. Thus,
although the Pope is potentially present everywhere in the Church, he
cannot exercise the great power belonging to the office personally, so
that he has called in his brethren, the co-bishops, to share in the
care of the burden entrusted to himself; but in doing so he has
subtracted in no whit from the fulness of power which enables him to
enquire into individual cases and to assume the office of judge at
will. Others, then, may be admitted to a share in the care of the
Church (_pars solicitudinis_); but to the Pope has been given the
fulness of power (_plenitudo potestatis_). Thomas Aquinas shows
how bishop and archbishop equally derive their authority from the
Pope, and finds parallels to the relationship between the Pope and the
other officers of the Church in the dependence of all things created
upon God and the subordination of the proconsul to the Emperor. This
deliberate policy on the part of the Papacy to absorb into itself the
whole spiritual authority of the Church may be traced in its attempts
to set itself up as supreme administrator, supreme lawgiver, and
supreme judge.

Before the Pope could claim to be supreme administrator within the
Church it was necessary to deprive all other ecclesiastical officers
of their independence. The custom of the gift of the pall to
archbishops who exercised the office of Metropolitans had already made
these highest officers of all into little more than delegates of the
Papacy. Gregory VII failed in his attempt to force them to come in
person to Rome in order to receive the pall. He succeeded, however, in
imposing upon them an oath which, founded upon the oath of fealty,
made their position analogous to that of a feudal vassal. By this a
Metropolitan swore to be faithful to St. Peter and the Pope and his
successors who should have been canonically elected; that he would be
no party to violence against the Pope; that he would attend in person
or by representatives at every synod to which the Pope summoned him;
that, saving the rights of his Order, he would help to defend the
Papacy and all its possessions and honours; that he would not betray
any trust reposed in him by the Pope; that he would honourably treat
the papal legate; that he would not knowingly communicate with
excommunicates; that when asked he would faithfully help the Roman
Church with a force of soldiers. To this was often added an
undertaking that he would appear at Rome himself or by a
representative at stated intervals; that he would cause his suffragans
at their consecration to take an oath of obedience to the Roman
pontiff; that he would not part with anything belonging to his
official position without the knowledge of the Roman See.

[Sidenote: Claim over bishoprics.]

Gregory's successors imposed this oath by degrees on all bishops, and
thus gradually substituted the Pope for the Metropolitan. The
_Dictatus Papae_ claimed for the Pope the right of deposing or
reinstating bishops without reference to a synod; of transferring a
bishop from one see to another; of dividing a wealthy see or joining
together poor bishoprics. It was the papal policy to champion the
suffragans against the Metropolitans until the original metropolitical
power of confirming the elections of their newly elected suffragans
and consecrating them to the episcopal office was entirely superseded
by the growing authority of the Pope. The right of confirmation
implied the power of quashing an election, and this could easily grow
into a power of direct appointment. This last power was only exercised
habitually in certain cases--after a vacancy had lasted for a certain
time; if the bishop had died at Rome; if the bishop had been
transferred from one see to another. From the end of the eleventh
century cases are found of bishops designated to be such, not only,
according to the ancient formula, "by the grace of God," but also by
that "of the Apostolic See," and such description becomes fairly
common in the thirteenth century.

[Sidenote: Claim over benefices.]

And as the Popes passed over Metropolitans in order to obtain a direct
hold on the suffragans, so they went on in course of time to pass over
the bishop in every diocese by claiming the disposition of individual
benefices. Such a claim began in the first half of the twelfth century
in letters of recommendation and petitions for the appointment of
papal favourites to prebends or benefices. But so quickly did this
system develop that where Hadrian IV recommended Alexander III
commanded, and the mandates of Innocent III were enforced by specially
appointed officers. Clement IV lays it down that ancient custom has
specially reserved to the Roman pontiff the collation of churches and
offices which become vacant through the death of the holder at Rome,
but that this is only part of the greater right which is known to
belong to Rome and gives to the Pontiff the full disposal (_plenaria
dispositio_) of all offices and benefices both at the time of
vacancy and by provision beforehand. But so flagrant was the abuse of
this power of appointment that it roused the indignant remonstrance of
the most ardent supporters of the papal authority in the Church.
England under Henry III was so much exploited by its papal guardian as
to gain the name of the "Milch-cow of the Papacy"; but there were many

Robert Grossteste, Bishop of Lincoln, the most revered English
Churchman of the thirteenth century, was bidden by Innocent IV to find
a canonry in his cathedral for a nominee of the Pope, who, moreover,
was still a child. He answered in a rebuke of such severity and
dignity as can have rarely been addressed to Rome by one devoted to
its service. "Next to the sin of Lucifer," he tells the Pope, "there
is not, there cannot be, any kind of sin so adverse and contrary to
the evangelical doctrine of the Apostles as the destruction of souls
by defrauding them of the duty and service of a pastor." He adds that
the most holy Apostolic See cannot command anything that tends to a
sin of such a kind except by some defect or abuse of its plenary
power: that no faithful servant of the Papacy would comply with a
command of that kind "even if it issued from the highest order of
angels"; and he therefore, _filialiter et obedienter_, flatly
refuses to obey. Scarcely less severe were the strictures of Louis
IX's ambassadors, who laid the grievances of the French bishops and
barons before the same Pope. They tell Innocent IV that the devotion
which the French people have hitherto felt towards the Roman Church is
now not only extinguished, but is turned into vehement hate and
rancour, and that the claim for subsidies and tribute for every
necessity of Rome--a claim which was enforced by the threat of
excommunication--was unheard of in previous ages.

[Sidenote: The Pope as supreme legislator.]

The Pope also gradually established his authority as supreme and sole
lawgiver within the Church. The _Dictatus Papae_ asserts that for
him alone it is lawful to frame new laws to meet the needs of the
time. Meanwhile the Forged Decretals had found their place in the
various collections of the Canons made in the eleventh and early
twelfth centuries. In the middle of the twelfth century Gratian, a
Benedictine monk of Bologna, put out his _Concordantia discordantium
Canonum_, commonly known as the _Decretum Gratiani_, which
combined a theoretical disquisition with illustrations drawn from the
documents which had appeared in previous collections. This became the
standard mediaeval treatise in ecclesiastical law, and its appearance
much encouraged the systematic study of the Canon law. The Popes of
the succeeding century and a half made great additions to the law of
the Church, partly through the decrees issued by the General Lateran
Councils, partly by their own edicts. Such new matter was embodied
from time to time. Thus in 1234 the Dominican Raymund de Pennaforte
gathered five books of Decretals at the command of Gregory IX;
Boniface VIII was responsible for a sixth book in 1298, while other
additions were made by Clement V (1308) and John XXII (1317). All
these, together with the earlier compilations and some later
additions, formed the _Corpus Juris Canonici_. This enormous body
of law was full of contradictions and not devoid of falsification and
forgery. The growing study of it caused the foundation of Chairs at
the universities, and the Popes found it a most convenient method to
publish their new decrees through the lecture-rooms. The old Canon Law
was entirely superseded by the later Papal Law.

[Sidenote: Power over Councils.]

The Popes made no pretence of hiding their claims to the legislative
power. Urban II strongly affirms that it has always been in the power
of the Roman Pontiff to frame new laws; and two centuries later
Boniface VIII embodies in his addition to the Canon Law the words of
an earlier writer, that the Roman Pontiff is considered to hold all
laws in the repository of his breast. There was no room in such a
theory for any effective co-operation of ecclesiastical Councils,
however representative. The _Dictatus Papae_ declares that no
General Council can be held without the papal command. Pascal II
points out that no Council can dictate the law of the Church, because
every Council comes into existence and receives its power by authority
of Rome, and in its statutes the authority of the Pope is clearly not
interfered with. But the Popes often found it convenient to obtain the
sanction of a General Council for their legislation, and the four
Lateran Councils (1123, 1139, 1179, 1215) were the occasions for great
and important additions to the Canon Law. But from the time of the
third Lateran Council, at all events, all ordinances of a General
Council were issued in the name of the Pope, although the approval or
the fact of the Council was likewise expressed. Thomas Aquinas merely
expresses the recognised law of the Church when he says that the Holy
Fathers gathered together in Councils can make no laws except by the
intervention of the authority of the Roman Pontiff, for without that
authority a Council cannot even meet.

[Sidenote: Popes above law.]

It followed from this assumption of the supreme legislative power
that, in the first place, the Pope himself claimed not to be bound by
the laws which he made. Thus in the thirteenth century papal writers
denied that the Roman Church could commit simony. Certain acts are
simoniacal because they have been prohibited as such by Canon Law; but
inasmuch as it is the Pope who had forbidden them, the prohibition
does not bind him. And in virtue of this power, from the time of
Innocent IV the Popes added to their bulls a _non obstante_
clause whereby they suspended in a particular instance all laws or
rights which might otherwise stand in the way of their grant.

[Sidenote: Papal dispensation.]

It followed, further, that the Pope claimed also the power of granting
dispensations from existing laws and absolution for their
infringement. Every papal bishop was armed with the power of granting
pardon in God's name for breaches of the law which had already been
committed. The Pope, however, claimed not only this power concurrently
with all other bishops, but he even developed a right of granting
dispensations beforehand, so that the tendency was to ignore the
bishop of the diocese and to apply directly to the Pope or his
representatives, who thus were willing to permit infractions of the
law. Thomas Aquinas declares that any bishop can grant dispensation in
the case of a promise about which there is any doubt; but that to the
Pope alone, as having the care of the Church Universal, belongs the
higher power of giving unconditional relaxation from an oath of
perfectly clear meaning in the interests of the general good.

But even papal writers sometimes complain of the irresponsibility of
the papal acts, and Popes themselves had to allow that there were
spheres outside their legislative interference. Thus Urban II
acknowledges that in matters on which our Lord, His Apostles, and the
Fathers have given definite decisions, the duty of the Pope is to
confirm the law. Thomas Aquinas, while holding that the Pope can alter
the decisions of the Fathers and even of the Apostles in so far as
they come under the head of positive law, yet excepts from the
possibility of papal interference all that concerns the law of nature,
the Articles of Faith (which, he says elsewhere, have been determined
by Councils), or the sacraments of the new law.

[Sidenote: The Pope as supreme judge.]

The third wide sphere of action within the Church in which the Pope
established his supremacy was that of justice. The _Dictatus
Papae_ asserts not only that the Pope should be judged by no one,
but that the "greater causes" of every Church should be referred to
him, that none should dare to condemn any one who appealed to Rome,
and that no one except the Pope himself can interfere with a papal
sentence. Litigants of all kinds were only too ready to appeal against
the local tribunal, and the Pope gave them every encouragement. St.
Bernard indignantly pointed out to Innocent II that every evil-doer
and cantankerous person, whether lay or cleric or even from the
monasteries, when he is worsted runs to Home and boasts on his return
of the protection which he has obtained. It is true, Gregory VIII
(1187) tried to check the practice of appeals; but his short reign
gave no time for any real result. Bishops and archdeacons tried
sometimes to stop appeals by excommunication, which prevented the
victim from appearing in an ecclesiastical court; but the third
Lateran Council (1179) forbade this method of defence. Alexander III
definitely laid it down that appeals could be made to the Pope in the
smallest no less than in the greatest matters, and at every possible
stage, before and after trial, at the pronouncement of the sentence
and after it has been awarded; and this, he points out, is not the
case in civil law, where an appeal is only admitted after judgment.
Indeed, the most serious matter with regard to papal appeals was the
reservation by the Pope to his own decision of cases which were
regarded as too serious for the local courts. The bishops had
themselves largely to thank for the development of this direct papal
jurisdiction; for they began the custom of referring to Rome the cases
of great criminals and of serious crimes. But these "greater causes,"
claimed for the Pope as early as the time of Gregory VII, included not
only grave moral crimes such as murder, sacrilege, and gross
immorality, but also cases of dispensation beforehand, of absolution
after excommunication for certain offences. Under the same head would
come the right of canonisation exercised by archbishops until
Alexander III claimed it exclusively for the Pope, and the right of
translating a bishop from one see to another, which involved a
dissolution of the metaphorical marriage between the bishop and his
see and therefore needed a special dispensation.

[Sidenote: The papal Curia.]

These extensive powers could only be put in practice by an elaborate
machinery for their enforcement. In the first place the Pope was
surrounded by a numerous body of officials to whom is applied from the
middle of the eleventh century the title Curia. Gerhoh of
Reichersberg, an ardent papal supporter writing about a century later,
objects to the substitution for the word "Ecclesia" of this term
"Curia," which would not be found in any old letters of the Roman
pontiffs. The rapacity of the officials became a byword throughout
Christendom. John of Salisbury told Hadrian IV, with whom he was on
terms of intimacy, that many people said that the Roman Church, which
is the mother of all the churches, shows herself to the others not so
much a mother as a stepmother. "The Scribes and Pharisees sit in it,
laying intolerable burdens on the shoulders of men, which they do not
touch with a finger.... They render justice not so much for truth's
sake as for a price.... The Roman pontiff himself becomes burdensome
to all, and almost intolerable." Honorius III in 1226 acknowledged to
the English bishops that this greed was a long-standing scandal and
disgrace, but he ascribed it to the poverty of Rome, and proposed that
in order to remove the difficulty two stalls should be given to him
for nomination in every cathedral and collegiate chapter. The magnates
considered the remedy, if possible, worse than the disease. The
popular songs of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries contain many
references to the fact that nothing was to be had at Rome except for
money, and that success in a cause went to the richest suitor. And yet
Rome had many sources of wealth. She drew regular revenues from
estates which had been given to the papal see; from monasteries which
were subject to visitation of papal officers alone; from kingdoms,
such as England, whose kings had made themselves feudal vassals of the
Pope. Several nations, moreover, paid special taxes, such as Peter's
Pence, a kind of hearth tax, which went from England. The Papacy also
exacted a number of dues on various pretexts which increased with the
growth of papal power. Such were the Annates or Firstfruits and
analogous payments, which amounted to the value of the first year's
income, and were claimed from newly appointed bishops and abbots as an
acknowledgment of the papal right of confirmation. Nor did
Metropolitans get their pall, which was necessary for the exercise of
their special authority, without the payment of considerable sums.
Over and above these regular and occasional sources, the Popes exacted
on especial occasions, such as the Crusades, a tax amounting to a
tenth on all ecclesiastical property, and even allowed kings to take
it with their leave. But these formed a small portion of the money
which found its way to Rome. When the papal legate found fault with
Ivo of Chartres because simony was still prevalent in his diocese, the
bishop retorted that those who practised it excused their action from
the example of Rome, where not even a pen and paper were to be had
free. Dante addresses the shade of Pope Nicholas III in the
_Inferno_ (xix.):--

"Your gods ye make of silver and of gold;
And wherein differ from idolaters,
Save that their God is one--yours manifold?"

And he ascribes the evil which he is condemning to the so-called
Donation of Constantine.

[Sidenote: Papal Legates.]

The most manifest agents and organs of papal authority throughout
Christendom were the legates. The Pope had appointed permanent
representatives called Apocrisiaries at Constantinople, and had sent
emissaries to General Councils and for other special matters. But from
the time of Leo IX legates began to be appointed with a general
commission to visit the churches; and Gregory VII developed this
method of interference with the local authorities into a regular
system. In some cases local hostility was disarmed by the appointment
of the Metropolitan as ordinary legate, and the position was accepted
with the object of retaining the chief authority upon the spot. Such
the Archbishop of Canterbury became after 1135. But the existence of
this official did not prevent the despatch from time to time of
legates _a latere_, as they were called. The ordinary legate
exercised the concurrent jurisdiction claimed by the Pope, that is,
the right of interference in every diocese; these legates coming from
the side of the Pope were armed with the power of exercising most of
the rights specially reserved for the personal authority of the Pope.
The _Dictatus Papae_ asserts that the Pope's legates take
precedence of all bishops in a council even though they may be of
inferior rank, and Gregory VII applies to their authority the text "He
that heareth you heareth me." In 1125 John of Crema, a legate sent to
England, presided at a Council at Westminster, where were present
ecclesiastics from the archbishops downwards and a number of nobility;
and "on Easterday he celebrated the office of the day in the mother
church in place of the supreme pontiff, and although he was not a
bishop, but merely a Cardinal Priest, he used pontifical insignia." A
Metropolitan in his oath of loyalty to the Pope was made to swear that
he would treat with all honour the Roman legates in their coming and
going, and would help them in their needs; and the procuration or
maintenance from all countries which they not only visited, but merely
passed through, was arbitrarily assessed. Innocent III enforces it by
directing against ecclesiastics who were contumacious a sentence of
distraint of goods without any right of appeal. The burden was no
light one. Wichmann, Archbishop of Magdeburg, writing on behalf of
Frederick I, tells the Pope that the whole Church of the Empire is
subject to such heavy exactions at the hands of the papal officials,
that both churches and monasteries, which have not enough to supply
their own daily wants, are yet compelled "beyond their utmost
possibility" to find money for the use of these legates, sustenance
for their train of attendants, and accommodation for their horses. In
more picturesque language John of Salisbury describes the legates of
the Apostolic See as "sometimes raging in the provinces as if Satan
had gone forth from the presence of the Lord in order to scourge the
Church." It is true that Alexander IV commanded an enquiry into the
amount which his legates had demanded under pretext of procuration,
and which he heard they had enforced by the sacrilegious use of the
powers of excommunication, suspension, and interdict. But the parallel
which Clement IV drew between the ordinary legates and the proconsuls
and provincial presidents of the early Empire showed how little
likelihood there was of redress being got from the Papacy itself.

[Sidenote: Increase of papal ceremony.]

The effect of this absorption of power by the Papacy is to be traced
in many directions. Here we may take notice of two of the most
remarkable. In the first place, he who had grown from the Vicar of St.
Peter to be directly the Vicar of God naturally surrounded himself
with an increasing amount of ceremony. The _Dictatus Papae_
claims that the Pope alone can use imperial insignia, and that it is
his feet alone that all princes should kiss. We have noticed the
disputes which arose when the Pope demanded from Lothair and from
Frederick I that the Emperor should perform the office of groom to the
Pope--hold his stirrup as he mounted and walk by the side of the mule.
St. Bernard rightly points out that in thus appearing in public
adorned in jewels and silks, covered with gold, riding a white horse,
and surrounded with guards, the Pope was the successor not of Peter,
but of Constantine. And if he required so much state outside the
Church, much more did he insist upon a special ceremony in the
services. Thus at the Mass the Pope received the elements not kneeling
at the altar, but seated and on his throne; while the Host was carried
before him in procession whenever the Pope went outside his palace.

[Sidenote: Papal infallibility.]

A far more important result of the supreme position accorded to the
Papacy was the gradual emergence of the doctrine of papal
infallibility. "The Church of Rome," says Gregory VII, "through St.
Peter, as it were by some privilege, is from the very beginnings of
the faith reckoned by the Holy Fathers the Mother of all the Churches
and will so be considered to the very end; for in her no heretic is
discerned to have had the rule, and we believe that none such will
ever be set over her according to the Lord's special promise. For the
Lord Jesus says, 'I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.'"
And in accordance with this principle the _Dictatus Papae_ lays
it down that "the Roman Church has never erred, nor, as Scripture
testifies, will it ever err." Innocent III pertinently asks how he
could confirm others in the faith, which is recognised as a special
duty of his office, unless he himself were firm in the faith. But many
writers, including Innocent himself, believed that it was possible for
a Pope to err in some individual point, and that it was the duty of
the Church to convert him. Thomas Aquinas, while holding it certain
that the judgment of the Church Universal cannot err in these matters
which belong to the faith, gives to the Pope alone, as the authority
by whom synods are summoned, the final determination of those things
which are of faith. Yet even he allows that in matters of fact, such
as questions of ownership and criminal charges, false witnesses may
lead the judgment of the Church astray.

[Sidenote: Kings and papal claims.]

We have seen that the Papacy did not attain its supremacy without
encountering much opposition. But the protests on the part of bishops
were unavailing, and they were themselves largely to blame for the
height to which the papal power had grown. Such effective remonstrance
as there was came from the Kings, though even they were often ready to
invoke the papal aid to obtain an advantage against their own
ecclesiastics or even their own subjects. Thus in England William II
agreed with Urban II that no legate should be sent to the country
unless the King was willing to receive him; while Henry II, in the
Constitutions of Clarendon, lays it down that no one should appeal to
Rome without permission of the King. But Henry's submission after
Becket's murder nullified the Constitutions, and John's humiliating
surrender made it difficult to object to the exercise of any papal
power in England. During the minority of Henry III the papal legate
was the most important member of the Council of Regency; and at a
later stage, when Henry had quarrelled with his barons, he was glad to
obtain the papal support against them. In Germany Hadrian IV
complained that Frederick I used force in order to prevent any of his
subjects from carrying their causes to Rome; and Otto IV was obliged
to swear in 1209 that no hindrance should be placed to ecclesiastical
appeals to Rome, a promise subsequently exacted also from Frederick
II and from Rudolf.

Not dissimilar was the submission of Alfonso X of Castile, who set his
seal to the papal encroachments; but his object was to obtain the
support of Rome in his campaign against the local liberties in his
kingdom. In his code of law known as "Siete Partidas" power was given
to the Pope to deal as he liked with bishops and with benefices and to
receive all appeals. On the other hand, St. Louis was not above a
bargain with Rome. He refused to the Pope the tithes of the French
Church for three years for the object of carrying on the war against
Frederick II; but in 1267 he himself obtained the papal consent to
take these tithes for the purpose of crusade.



[Sidenote: Number of the Sacraments.]

It was during the period covered by this volume that some of the most
characteristic doctrines of the Roman Church were developed. In this
development the whole sacramental system of the Church comes under
consideration. The word "sacramentum" in the sense of a holy mark or
sign (_sacrum signum_) was used with a very wide meaning as
denoting anything "by which under the cover of corporeal things the
divine wisdom secretly works salvation." Hugh of St. Victor, writing
in the first half of the twelfth century, distinguishes three kinds of
sacraments--those necessary for salvation, namely, baptism and the
reception of the Body and Blood of Christ; those for sanctification,
such as holy water, ashes, and such-like; and those instituted for the
purpose of preparing the means of the necessary sacraments, that is,
holy orders and the dedication of churches. Elsewhere he chooses out
rather more definitely seven remedies against original or actual sin,
namely, baptism, confirmation, eucharist, penance, extreme unction,
marriage, and holy orders; and after the twelfth century the Church
gradually restricted the use of the word Sacrament to these seven.
There was much disputing among the schoolmen on the need of
institution by Christ Himself. Peter Lombard, and after him
Bonaventura, denied this necessity; Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas
asserted it. But how account for extreme unction and confirmation?
This is St. Thomas' explanation. "Some sacraments which are of greater
difficulty for belief Christ himself made known; but others He
reserved to be made known by the Apostles. For sacraments belong to
the fundamentals of the law and so their institution belongs to the
law-giver. Christ made known only such sacraments as He Himself could
partake. But He could not receive either penance or extreme unction
because he was sinless. The institution of a new sacrament belongs to
the power of excellence which is competent for Christ alone: so that
it must be said that Christ instituted such a sacrament as
confirmation not by making it known, but by promising it."

[Sidenote: The Eucharist.]

Of these seven sacraments the one round which the whole doctrine and
discipline of the Church increasingly centred was, of course, the
Sacrament of the Lord's Supper or the Eucharist. The view generally
held in the Church was that of St. Augustine, which finds a place in
the homilies of Aelfric and in the controversial work of Ratramnus of
Corbie (died 868). According to this view, Christ is present in the
consecrated elements of the sacrament really but spiritually. "The
body of Christ," says Ratramnus, "which died and rose again and has
become immortal, does not now die: it is eternal and cannot suffer."
But the tendency of the Middle Ages was to materialise all conceptions
however spiritual; and Ratramnus had written to controvert Paschasius
Radbertus, Abbot of New Corbie, who had applied these materialistic
views to the Eucharist. "Although," he asserts, "the form of bread and
wine may remain, yet after consecration it is nothing else but the
flesh and blood of Christ, none other than the flesh which was born of
Mary and suffered on the cross and rose from the sepulchre." During
the two succeeding centuries this theory of the corporeal presence
gained so much vogue in the Church that when Berengar of Tours taught
in the cathedral school of his native city the doctrine of Ratramnus,
he was condemned unheard at a Synod at Rome in 1050. But he gained the
favour of Hildebrand, who was then at Tours in 1054 as papal legate,
and was content with the admission "panem atque vinum altaris post
consecrationem esse corpus et sanguis Christi"; and relying on his
protection Berengar went to Rome (1059). Here, however, his opponents
forced him to sign a confession in conformity with the materialistic
view. His repudiation of this as soon as he got away from Rome began a
long controversy, the champion on the materialistic side being
Lanfranc, then a monk of Bee in Normandy, to whom Berengar had
originally addressed himself. Lanfranc held the position that the
consecrated elements are "ineffably, incomprehensibly, wonderfully by
the operation of power from on high, turned into the essence of the
Lord's Body." In 1075 the matter was discussed at the Synod of
Poictiers, and Berengar was in danger of his life. Again Pope Gregory,
as he had now become, tried to stand his friend, and at a Synod at
Rome in 1078 to get from Berengar a confession of faith in general
terms. But the violence of Berengar's enemies made compromise or
ambiguity impossible. Again Berengar repudiated the forced confession;
and Gregory only obtained peace for him until his death in 1088, by
threatening with anathema any who molested him. Berengar's objections
to the doctrine of Paschasius were shared by all the mystics, who held
a more spiritual belief. Thus, St. Bernard distinguishes between the
visible sign and the invisible grace which God attaches to the sign;
and Rupert of Deutz declares that for him who has no faith there is
nothing of the sacrifice, nothing except the visible form of the bread
and wine.

[Sidenote: Transubstantiation.]

But apart from these writers the trend of opinion and inclination told
entirely in favour of the materialistic school of thought. To the
ordinary folk the miraculous aspect of the doctrine was a positive
recommendation to acceptance. And the word Transubstantiation, even
though it did not necessarily imply a materialistic change,
undoubtedly became associated in men's minds with that idea. As early
as the middle of the ninth century Haimo of Halberstadt had said that
the substance of the bread and wine (that is, the nature of bread and
wine) is changed substantially into another substance (that is, into
flesh and blood). But the word "transubstantiate" is used first by
Stephen, Bishop of Autun (1113-29), who explains "This is My Body" as
"The bread which I have received I have transubstantiated into My
Body." Sanction was first given for the use of the word in the Lateran
Council of 1215. In the confession of faith drawn up by that Council
it is asserted that "there is one Universal Church of the Faithful,
outside of which no one at all has salvation: in which Jesus Himself
is at once priest and sacrifice, whose Body and Blood are truly
received in the sacrament of the altar under the form of bread and
wine, the bread being transubstantiated by the divine power into the
Body and the wine into the Blood, in order that for the accomplishment
of the mystery of the unity we may receive of His what He has received
of ours. And this as being a sacrament no one can perform except a
priest who shall have been duly ordained according to the Keys of the
Church, which Jesus Christ Himself granted to the Apostles and their

[Sidenote: Resulting Changes.]

This "mystery of the unity" became, on the one side, the subject of a
long and intricate controversy on the method by which the change in
the elements was effected, while on the other side it lent itself to
much mystical meditation. Of neither of these is there space to give
illustration; but the hymn of St. Thomas Aquinas, which is familiar to
English readers under the form of "Now, my tongue, the mystery
telling," blends the two sides with astonishing success. It is a
mistake to describe the view of the sacrament thus sanctioned by the
Church as either more "advanced" or "higher" than the older view. It
was merely more elaborate, and as being such it led on to certain
definite results or changes in custom.

Thus, in the first place, hitherto children had partaken of the
sacrament. This had come partly from the teaching of the need of the
sacrament for salvation, partly from the early custom of administering
communion directly after baptism. The fear of profanation now caused
the gradual discontinuance of children's communions, and in the middle
of the thirteenth century they were definitely forbidden.

[Sidenote: Refusal of cup to laity.]

A far more important change, and for a similar reason, was the refusal
of the cup to the laity. St. Anselm is responsible for the dictum
(afterwards accepted by the whole Church) that "Christ is consumed
entire in either element"; from this came the inference that there was
no need for the administration of both. The heaviness of a single
chalice made the danger of spilling its contents so great that several
chalices were used. This, however, only increased the chances, and
various methods were adopted with a view to minimising the difficulty.
Sometimes a reed was used; later on, bread dipped in wine was
administered, as was already usual in the case of sick persons or
children; or even unconsecrated wine was given. Some of these methods
came under papal condemnation; and the withdrawal of the cup found
powerful apologists in Alexander of Hales and Thomas Aquinas. But the
administration of both elements continued to be fairly common until
far on into the thirteenth century.

[Sidenote: Adoration of the sacrament.]

A third result of the new views is to be seen in the extension of the
doctrine and practice of adoration of the sacrament. The rite of
elevation existed in the Greek Church at least as early as the seventh
century, but was not adopted by the Latins until four centuries later.
In either case, however, it was only regarded as an act symbolical of
the exaltation of Christ. But following on the sanction of the
doctrine of transubstantiation by the Lateran Council, Honorius III in
1217 decreed that "every priest should frequently instruct his people
that when in the celebration of the Mass the saving Host is elevated
every one should bend reverently, doing the same thing when the priest
carries it to the sick." A logical outcome of this was the foundation
of the festival of Corpus Christi for the special celebration of the
sacramental mystery. This was first introduced in the bishopric of
Liege in response to the vision of a certain nun. Urban IV, who had
been a canon of Liege, adopted it for the whole Church in 1264, but it
only became general after Clement V had incorporated Urban's ordinance
as part of the Canon Law in the Clementines (1311).

While there was a growing elaboration of the sacramental rite, the
laity in many parts of Europe came from slackness less frequently to
receive communion. As early as Bede, in England, though not in Rome,
communions were very infrequent. English and French Synods tried to
insist on communion three times a year, but could not enforce the
rule. Innocent III, in the fourth Lateran Council, with a view to
compel confession, prescribes once a year. "Every one of the
faithful," runs the canon of the Council, "of either sex, after he has
come to years of discretion, is to confess faithfully by himself all
his sins at least once a year to his own priest, and is to be careful
to fulfil according to his power the penance enjoined on him,
receiving with reverence the sacrament of the Eucharist at least at

Finally, the discussion of this theory of transubstantiation led to
the development of a special view of the doctrine of the Eucharistic
Sacrifice. Peter Lombard and Thomas Aquinas call the sacrament a
representation of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. But to
Albertus Magnus it is not merely a Representation, but a True
Sacrifice, that is, "an Oblation of the thing offered by the hands of
the priests," and St. Thomas elsewhere declares that the perfection of
the sacrament consists not in its use by the faithful, but in the
consecration of the element, that is to say, that the main point was
the act of the priest. The prevalence of this view appears to have
encouraged the idea in the laity that a mere attendance at the service
was in itself so meritorious as almost to dispense with the need of
communion, except once a year and on the death-bed. Similarly, private
Masses for the dead were instituted, chantry chapels were founded for
the celebration of them, and priests were appointed for the sole
purpose of serving the altar of the chapel.

[Sidenote: Confession.]

Nor was the development of this sacramental system the only method by
which the importance of the priesthood became enhanced. The whole
penitential system of the Church was gradually perverted. Originally
those convicted of open sin who submitted to penance were publicly
readmitted to the Church after confessing their sin and making some
form of atonement. People were encouraged to confess their sins to
their bishop or priest even when their sins were not open and
notorious. This was especially enjoined in the case of mortal sin. But
it was for a long time a matter of discussion whether this confession
to a priest was an indispensable preliminary to forgiveness. Peter
Lombard marks another view. God alone remits or retains sins, but to
the priests he assigns the power, not of forgiveness, but of declaring
men to be bound or loosed from their sins. He adds that even though
sinners have been forgiven by God, yet they must be loosed by the
priest's judgment in the face of the Church. In this ambiguous
position of the priest laymen were even entrusted with the power of
hearing a confession if no priest was available. But in the twelfth
century, as we have seen, confession was often reckoned among the
sacraments; and at the Lateran Council Innocent III enjoined an annual
confession to the parish priest. Before long the precatory form of
absolution is replaced by the indicative form by which the priest
declared the sinner absolved. Thomas Aquinas lays it down that "the
grace which is given in the sacraments descends from the head to the
members: and so he alone is minister of the sacraments in which grace
is given who has a true ministry over Christ's body; and this belongs
to the priest alone who can consecrate the Eucharist. And so when
grace is conferred in the sacrament of penance, the priest alone is
the minister of this sacrament; and so to him alone is to be made the
sacramental confession which ought to be made to a minister of the
Church." There was no room here for confession to laymen, although
Thomas himself allows that in cases of necessity such confession has a
kind of sacramental character which would be supplemented by Christ
Himself as the high priest.

[Sidenote: Indulgences.]

The increasing stress laid upon private confession not only led to the
decay of the public procedure, but also brought about some dangerous
developments in the penitential system of the Church. This had already
become very largely a matter of fixed pecuniary compensations for
moral offences; so that the new system of compulsory confession was
able to recommend itself to the people through the adaptation of the
old mechanical standards by the confessors to each individual case.
Far more important was the extension given to the system of
indulgences. These had their origin in the remission of part of an
imposed penance on condition of attendance at particular churches on
certain anniversaries, it being understood that the penitent would
present offerings to the Church. Abailard complains that on ceremonial
occasions when large offerings are expected, bishops issue such
indulgences for a third or fourth part of the penance as if they had
done it out of love instead of from the utmost greed. And they boast
of it, claiming that it is done by the power of St. Peter and the
Apostles, when it is God who said to them "Whosesoever sins ye remit,"
etc. Thus all bishops took it upon themselves to issue indulgences for
the furtherance of particular objects. But in its claim to subordinate
the episcopal power to its own, the Papacy began to grant indulgences
which were not limited to time or circumstance. Gregory VI in 1044
made promises to all who helped in the restoration of Roman churches;
but Gregory VII promised absolution to all who fought for Rudolf of
Suabia against Henry IV; while Urban II in the widest manner offered
plenary indulgence, that is, remission of all penances imposed, in the
case of any who would take part in the Crusade. This offer in whole or
in part was constantly renewed in order to raise an army for the East.

[Sidenote: Effect on populace.]

It was of course presupposed by those in authority in the cases of
these indulgences that, confession having been made, the temporal
penalties to be undergone either here or in purgatory were thus
remitted. But preachers in their eagerness to raise troops asserted
that those guilty of the foulest crimes obtained pardon from the
moment when they assumed the cross, and were assured of salvation in
the event of death. Consequently the people in their ignorance
overlooked the conditions attached and regarded these indulgences as
promises of eternal pardon. It is not wonderful that men released from
social restraints of a more or less stable society should have
developed in their new abode the licence which made crusaders a byword
in the West.

[Sidenote: Papal indulgences.]

So far the Popes had endeavoured to supersede the bishops in the issue
of indulgences by entering into rivalry with them. But the power was
used by the bishops in such detailed ways as perhaps seriously to
interfere with the offerings which should reach the Papacy or be
applied to important projects. Innocent III, therefore, at the great
Lateran Council limited the episcopal power to the grant of an
indulgence for one year at the consecration of a church and for forty
days at the anniversary. Unfortunately this did not mean the
suppression of trifling reasons for the multiplication of indulgence.
The whole system was a convenient method of adding to the revenues of
Rome, and no occasion seemed too small for the exercise of the papal
power of dispensation. Urban IV granted an indulgence to all who
should listen to the same sermon as the King of France. The Crusades
were the great occasion and excuse for the development of this system,
and it certainly reached its nadir when Gregory IX showed himself
ready in return for a pecuniary penance to absolve men from the vows
which they had perhaps been unwillingly forced to take by his own
agents for going on crusade. Equally disgraceful was the establishment
of the year of Jubilee in 1300 by Boniface VIII, when plenary
indulgence of the most comprehensive kind was offered to all who
within the year should in the proper spirit visit the tombs of St.
Peter and St. Paul at Rome.

[Sidenote: Treasury of merits.]

But how came the Pope to be in possession of this power of remitting
the penalties for sin? The schoolmen of the thirteenth century supply
the answer. Alexander of Hales and Albert the Great invented the
theory and Thomas Aquinas completed it. According to their teaching,
the saints, by their works of penance and by their unmerited
sufferings patiently borne, have done in this world more than was
necessary for their own salvation. These superabundant merits,
together with those of Christ, which are infinite, are far more than
enough to fulfil all the penalties due for their evil deeds from the
living. The idea of unity in the mystical body enables the
shortcomings of one man to be atoned for by the merits of another. The
superabundant merits of the saints are a treasury for use by the whole
Church, and are distributed by the head of the Church, that is, the
Pope. Furthermore, to St. Thomas is due the idea that the contents of
this treasury were equally available for the benefit of souls in
purgatory, for whom the Church was already accustomed to make

[Sidenote: Canonisation of saints.]

It was to our Lord Himself that the theologians attributed all merit;
but in the popular mind the merits of the saints took an ever more
important place, since the Church seemed to make the priesthood a
barrier against, rather than a channel for, the flow of God's mercy to
man; but popular feeling sought to find intercessors before the throne
of grace in the holy men and women of the faith. For a long time it
was the bishops who decided the title to saintship. But in 993 Pope
John XV, in a Council at Rome and in response to a request of the
Bishop of Augsburg, ordered that a former bishop of that see should be
venerated as a saint. This was the process afterwards called
Canonisation, which involved the insertion of a name in the Canon or
list, and gave it currency not merely in a single diocese, but
throughout western Christendom. In 1170 Alexander III claimed such
recognition as the exclusive right of Rome. But despite this
assumption of authority, popular feeling very often dictated to the
Pope whom he should admit into the list. Death followed by miracles at
the tomb, and sometimes the building of an elaborate shrine with an
altar, forced the Pope to grant the claims of a popular favourite.

[Sidenote: Miracles and relics.]

A rapid increase in the number of applications for such official
recognition would be the result of any widely popular movement. Such
was the effect of the Crusades in the twelfth century, and of the
foundation of the Mendicant Orders in the thirteenth. And the
multiplication of saints meant an increase in the number of relics and
an ever-growing belief in the miraculous. Miracles frequently took
place in connection with living persons of saintly life. Abailard
scornfully pointed out that some of the attempts made by Norbert or
Bernard to work miraculous cures were quite unsuccessful, while in
successful cases medicine as well as prayers had been employed. But
such rationalism was beyond the grasp of an ignorant age, and
collections of stories of miracles, such as remain to us in the
"Golden Legends" of Jacob de Voragine, a Dominican of the thirteenth
century, fed the popular belief. Miracles so commemorated often
occurred in connection with relics; and the traffic in relics and so
styled "pious" frauds, not to say the forcible means used to procure
reputed relics of authentic or supposititious saints, forms a curious
if a discreditable feature in mediaval history. An occasional protest
was uttered against the manner in which credit was often obtained for
relics of more than doubtful authenticity; but the manufacture of them
was easy and profitable, and pilgrims returning from Palestine could
palm off anything upon the credulity of a willing and ignorant
populace. The growth of a legend in connection with relics is fitly
illustrated by the history of the eleven thousand Virgins of Koln.
Martyrologies of the ninth century celebrate the martyrdom of eleven
virgins in the city of Koln. Perhaps these were described as XI. M.
Virgines, and the letter which denoted martyrs was mistaken for the
Roman numeral for one thousand, and so the number of virgins was
ultimately swollen to eleven thousand. A legend, possibly working on
an old one, was invented by a writer of the twelfth century that these
virgins were martyred by the Huns in the fifth century. In the middle
of that century, when heresy was rife at Koln, a number of bones of
persons of both sexes were found near Koln, and the authenticity of
the relics was put beyond dispute by the revelations vouchsafed to
Saint Elizabeth, Abbess of Schonau, to whom the matter was referred.
Even though she did give a date for the event which was historically
impossible, the confirmatory evidence of the Premonstratensian Abbot
Richard nearly thirty years later put the matter beyond the doubt of
any pious Christian. But the interest of these unsavoury remains of
anonymous men and women, however saintly, pales before certain relics
of our Lord's life on earth which gained currency. Of these the most
famous were the Veronica, a cloth on which Christ, on His way to
Calvary, was supposed to have left the impress of His face, and a
vessel of a green colour which was identified with the holy grail, the
cup which our Lord used at the Last Supper. Of garments purporting to
be the seamless coat of Christ there were a considerable number shown
in different places; but the most famous to this day remains the Holy
Coat of Treves, which, in Dr. Robertson's caustic words, "the Empress
Helena (the mother of Constantine) was said to have presented to an
imaginary archbishop of her pretended birthplace, Treves." During the
First Crusade the army before Antioch was only spurred on to the
efforts which resulted in the capture of the city, by the opportune
discovery of the Holy Lance with which the Roman soldier had pierced
Christ's side while He hung upon the cross.

[Sidenote: Adoration of the Virgin.]

The great increase in the whole intercessory machinery of the Church
culminated in the adoration of the Virgin Mary. The extravagant
expression of this devotion was widespread. For the many it found vent
in the language of popular hymns. Among the monks the Cistercians were
under her special protection, and all their churches were dedicated to
her. Of the learned men Peter Damiani in the eleventh century, St.
Bernard and St. Bonaventura in the two succeeding centuries
respectively, especially helped in various ways to crystallise her
position in the Church. As a result of the efforts of her devotees
Saturdays and the vigils of all feast days came to be kept in her
honour; the salutation "_Ave Maria gratia plena_" with certain
additions was prescribed to be taught to the people, together with the
Lord's Prayer and the Creed. In the thirteenth century its frequent
repetition resulted in the invention of the Rosary, a string of beads
by which the number of repetitions could be counted. The religion of
Mary soon showed signs of development as a parallel religion to that
of Christ. She is styled the Queen of Heaven; her office, composed by
Peter Damiani, was ordered by Urban II to be recited on Saturday; and
a Marian Psalter and a Marian Bible were actually composed; while in
place of the _didia_ or reverence offered to the saints, there
was claimed for the Virgin a higher step, a _hyperdulia_, which
St. Thomas places between _dulia_ and the latria or adoration
paid to Christ.

[Sidenote: The immaculate conception.]

A final stage in possible developments was reached in the twelfth
century in the institution of a feast in honour of the conception of
the Blessed Virgin. Hitherto it had been supposed by Christian
writers, notably by St. Anselm, that the Mother of the Lord had been
conceived as others. Towards the middle of the twelfth century some
Canons of Lyons evolved the theory that she was conceived already
sinless in her mother's womb. St. Bernard strenuously opposed this
notion of her immaculate conception, pointing out that the supposition
involved in the theory could not logically stop with the Virgin
herself, but must be applied to her parents and so to each of their
ancestors in turn in an endless series. Nor was St. Bernard alone in
his objection: indeed, nearly all the chief theologians of the
thirteenth century, including Thomas Aquinas, declared that there was
no warrant of Scripture for the theory. But notwithstanding this
criticism, the festival won its way to recognition. Those who kept it,
however, declared that it was merely the conception which they
celebrated; and St. Thomas interpreting this to denote the
sanctification, was of opinion that such a celebration was not to be
entirely reprobated. It was Duns Scotus who first among the schoolmen
defended the theory of the immaculate conception, but in moderate
language; and his Franciscan followers, who at a General Council of
the Order in 1263 had admitted the festival among some other new
occasions to be observed, in the course of the fourteenth century
adopted it as a distinctive doctrine.



[Sidenote: Cause of heresy.]

It was not until the thirteenth century that the Church had to face
that spirit of scepticism or anti-religious feeling which is the chief
bug-bear of modern Christianity. Her elaborate organisation and the
gradual development of her own dogmatic position enabled her to deal
with individual writers of a speculative turn like Berengar or
Abailard. Nor were these in any sense anti-Christian. But they were
the inciters to heresy; and a real danger to the Church lay in the
filtering down of intellectual speculations to ignorant classes, by
whom they would be transformed into weapons against the fundamental
doctrines of the Christian faith. Indeed, from the eleventh century
onward the Church was constantly threatened by heresy of a popular
kind, which tended to develop into schism. And for this she had to
thank not only the growing materialisation of her doctrine, but even
more the worldly life of her ministers. Unpalatable doctrines may
commend themselves by the pure lives which profess to be founded on
them; but evil doing carries no persuasion to others.

[Sidenote: Two kinds of heretics.]

It is a real difficulty that our sources of information of all the
heretics of these centuries are chiefly the writings of their
successful opponents--the defenders of the orthodox faith. But much
information remains to us from the admissions of her supporters as to
the depraved condition of the Church at this period; so that we need
not believe the allegations or their opponents that a chief inducement
to join heretical sects lay in the greater scope for the indulgence of
sin. Charges of immorality against opponents were the stock-in-trade
of the controversialist, while the greatest authorities in the Church
allow that heresy lived upon the scandals and negligences of the
Church. Moreover, based as they were upon opposition to the existing
organisation, the doctrines of the various sects had much in common.
The Church did not distinguish between them, but excommunicated them
all alike. If, however, we would understand the developments of
opinion in the succeeding centuries, it is important to discriminate;
and a clear distinction can be made between those opponents of the
Church whose views were aimed against the development of an extreme
sacerdotalism within the Church, and those who, going beyond this
negative position, reproduced the Manichaan theories of an early age
and threatened to raise a rival organisation to that of the Christian

[Sidenote: Anti-sacerdotalists.]

The object which those who belonged to the first of these divisions
set before themselves, was to get behind the elaborate organisation
which the Church had built up and which, instead of being a help to
lead man to God, had now become a hindrance by which the knowledge of
God was actually obscured. They would therefore sweep away all this
machinery and return to the Christianity of apostolic times. Their
objection was primarily moral, but it soon became doctrinal; and among
the heretics of this class there was revived the Donatist theory that
the sacraments depend for their efficacy on the moral condition of
those who administer them. The campaign of the Church reformers
against clerical marriage seemed directly to support this view; but
the canons which forbade any one to be present at a Mass performed by
a married priest had to be explained away as a mere enforcement of
discipline; and in 1230 Gregory IX definitely laid it down that the
suspension of a priest living in mortal sin merely affects him as an
individual and does not invalidate his office as regards others. But
such declarations did nothing to meet the common feeling of the great
incompatibility between the awful powers with which the Church clothed
her ministers and the sinful lives led by a large proportion of the
existing clerical body.

[Sidenote: Extreme examples.]

From an early period in the twelfth century sectaries of this class
are found in several quarters. Two extreme instances are Tanchelm, who
preached in the Netherlands between 1115 and 1124, and Eon de
l'Etoile, who gathered round him a band of desperate characters in
Brittany about 1148. They have been described as "two frantic
enthusiasts," and Eon was almost certainly insane. Eon was imprisoned
and his band dispersed. But Tanchelm found a large following when he
taught that the hierarchy was null and that tithes should not be paid.
He came to an untimely end; but the influence of his doctrines
continued so strong in Antwerp that St. Norbert came to the help of
the local clergy and succeeded in obliterating all traces of the

[Sidenote: Petrobrusians and Henricians.]

It was in the south of France that this and all heresy assumed a more
formidable shape. The population was very mixed; the feudal tie,
whether to France, England, or the Emperor, was slight; there was more
culture and luxury, the clergy were more careless of their duties,
while Jews had greater privileges, than anywhere else in Europe.
Moreover, the early teachers were men of education. Two such were
Peter de Bruis (1106-26), a priest, and Henry of Lausanne (1116-48),
an ex-monk of Cluny. Peter was burnt and Henry probably died in
prison. Peter preached in the land known later as Dauphine; and the
views of the Petrobrusians, as his followers were called, so continued
to spread after his death that Peter the Venerable, the Abbot of
Cluny, thought it worth while to write a tract in refutation of them.
Henry was more formidable. He preached over all the south of France,
was condemned as a heretic at the Council of Pisa (1134), but was
released and resumed his preaching. As the bishops could not and the
lay nobles would not do anything against him, the papal legate
obtained the help of St. Bernard, who, although ill, preached at Albi
and elsewhere with an effect which was much enhanced by the miracles
which in popular belief accompanied his efforts. Henry declined a
debate to which Bernard challenged him, and so became discredited, and
shortly after he fell into the hands of his enemies.

The tract of Peter the Venerable is practically the sole authority for
the tenets of the Petrobrusians. According to this they were frankly
anti-sacerdotal. Infant baptism was held to be useless, since it was
performed with vicarious promises. Churches were useless, for the
Church of God consists of the congregation of the faithful; the Cross,
as being the instrument of Christ's torture, was a symbol to be
destroyed rather than invoked; there was no real presence and no
sacrifice in the Mass, for Christ's body was made and given once for
all at the Last Supper; all offerings and prayers for the dead were
useless, since each man would be judged on his own merits. Henry with
his followers practically adopted these views and added attempts at
social reform on Christian lines, especially in the matter of
marriage, persuading courtesans to abandon their vicious life and
promoting their union to some of his adherents.

[Sidenote: Waldenses.]

By far the most important body of these anti-sacerdotal heretics were
the Waldenses. Their founder was Peter Waldo, whose name takes many
forms--Waldez, Waldus, Waldensis. He was a wealthy merchant of Lyons
who, moved with religious feelings and himself ignorant, caused two
priests to translate into the vernacular Romance the New Testament and
a collection of extracts from the chief writers of the early Church
known as Sentences. From a perusal of these he became convinced that
the way to spiritual perfection lay through poverty. He divested
himself of his wealth and, as a way of carrying out the gospel
further, he began to preach (1170-80). He attracted men and women of
the poorer classes, whom he used as missionaries; and the neglect of
the pulpit by the clergy caused these lay preachers to find ready
listeners in the streets and even in the churches of Lyons. According
to the custom of the day they adopted a special dress; and the sandals
(_sabol_) which they wore in imitation of the Apostles gave them
the name of Insabbatati. They called themselves the Poor Men of
Lyons--Pauperes de Lugduno; Li Poure de Lyod. The Archbishop of Lyons
excommunicated them; but Alexander III, at the request of Peter,
allowed them to preach with permission of the priests. Their disregard
of this proviso caused their excommunication by the Pope in 1184 and
again in 1190; and from this time they began to repudiate the Church
which limited their freedom, and to set up conventicles and an
organisation of their own. The date of Peter's death is not known.

[Sidenote: Their Views.]

The strong missionary spirit of these sectaries spread their doctrines
with extraordinary rapidity. They consisted almost entirely of poor
folk scattered over an area extending from Aragon to Bohemia; and from
place to place differences of organisation and doctrine are to be
observed. But they were not Protestants in the modern sense, and,
despite persecution, many continued to consider themselves members of
the Church. Thus on such doctrinal points as the Real Presence,
purgatory, the invocation of saints, in many places they long
continued to believe in them with their own explanations, and their
repudiation of the teaching of the Church was a matter of gradual
accomplishment. It is true that in places they strove to set up their
own organisation. But the tendency of the Waldenses was much rather
towards a simplification of the existing organisation. The power of
binding and loosing was entirely rejected: an apostolic life and not
ordination was the entrance to the priesthood. In fact, a layman was
qualified to perform all the priestly functions, not merely to baptise
and to preach, but even to hear confession and to consecrate the
Eucharist. Thus the whole penitential machinery of the Church was set
aside. Their specially religious teaching was largely ethical, and by
the testimony of their enemies their life and conduct were singularly
pure and simple. The stories of abominable practices among them
perhaps arose from the extreme asceticism of a sect which professed
voluntary poverty; but they were no more true than the similar tales
told of the early Christians. Nor shall we regard from the same point
of view as the Churchmen of the day the charge brought against them on
the ground of their intimate knowledge of the Scriptures. Of these
they had their own vernacular translations, and large portions of them
were committed to memory. But such translations spread broadcast views
unfettered by the traditional interpretation of the Church, and the
missionary zeal of the Waldenses was proof against the horrors of the
Inquisition with its prison, torture-chamber, and stake.

[Sidenote: Cathari.]

The most formidable development of hostility to the Church came from
the Manichaism of those who bore at various times and in different
places the names of Cathari, Patarius, or Albigenses. The attraction
of the Manichaan theory lay in its apparent explanation of the problem
of evil. There exist side by side in the world a good principle and an
evil principle. The latter is identifiable with matter and is the work
of Satan. Hence sin consists in care for the material creation. It
follows that all action tending to the reproduction of animal life is
to be avoided, so that marriage was strongly discouraged. To the
earlier views was added the doctrine of metempsychosis, or the
transmigration of souls, which, acting as a means of reward and
retribution, seemed fully to account for man's sufferings. These views
together explain the avoidance as food by the Cathari of everything
which was the result of animal propagation, and also the severity of
the ascetic practices which were charged against them.

[Sidenote: Their doctrines.]

In the sphere of doctrine the division between the Cathari and the
Catholic Church was absolute. According to these sectaries Satan is
the Jehovah of the Old Testament: hence all Scriptures before the
Gospels are rejected. They accepted the New Testament, but regarded
Christ as a phantasm and not a man. Thus the doctrine of the Real
Presence had no meaning for them, indeed, they rejected the sacraments
and all external and material manifestations of religion. Here, of
course, they had much in common with the Waldenses, whom the Church
confounded with them; and there seems little doubt that the way for
the preaching of Catharism in the south of France was paved by the
previous work of Peter de Bruis and, even more, of Henry of Lausanne.
But the reasons for opposition to the Church were not the same among
the Waldenses and the Cathari; and the latter soon parted company with
the seekers after primitive Christianity by developing an organisation
of their own. Thus as the Cathari grew in numbers and carried on a
vigorous missionary work, their devotees tended to form themselves
into a Church. At least two distinct Orders were recognised. The
Perfected were a kind of spiritual aristocracy who renounced all
property and were sworn to celibacy, while they submitted themselves
to penances of such rigour that their lives were often endangered, if
not shortened. Below them were the mass of believers who were allowed
to marry and to live in the world, assimilating themselves so far as
possible to the ideal set before them by the higher caste. From the
Perfected were chosen officers with the names of bishop and deacon,
the latter acting as assistants to the chief officers. The ritual was
simple but definite, and the most characteristic ceremony was the
Consolamentum, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, by which the believers
were placed in communion with the Perfected and so became absolved
from all sin. It was performed by the imposition of hands together
with the blessing and kiss of peace given by any two of the Perfected.
This was the process of "heretication," the name given by the
Inquisitors to admission into the Catharist Church; and, except in the
case of the ministers, it was postponed until the believer lay upon
his death-bed.

[Sidenote: Their effect.]

The charges of evil practices against the Cathari were perhaps no
truer than similar accusations against the Waldenses, and their
missionary zeal was proof against even death at the stake.
Nevertheless there is no doubt that the cause of progress and
civilisation lay with Catholicism rather than with its opponents. The
asceticism of the Cathari would have resulted, if not in the
extinction of the race, at least in the destruction of the family:
their identification of matter with the work of Satan would have been
a bar to attempts at material improvement. Moreover, if ever theirs
had become the conquering faith, they would have developed a
sacerdotal class as privileged as the Catholic priesthood. The
movement has been aptly described as "not a revolt against the Church,
but a renunciation of man's dominion over nature."

[Sidenote: Their origin and spread.]

Whether the Catharist movement was spread westwards by the Paulicians
who in the tenth century were transplanted from Armenia to Thrace, or
sprang spontaneously from teachers who saw in the dualistic philosophy
a condemnation, if not an explanation, of the materialisation of
Christianity by the Church, may not be very certain; but there is no
doubt that the Cathari of Western Europe always looked to the eastern
side of the Adriatic as to the headquarters of their faith. In the
eleventh century we hear of Cathari in certain places in North Italy,
in France, and even in Germany; but although in Italy the name of
Patarins came to be applied to the sect, we need trace no connection
in the popular rising at Milan, which was stirred up by the Church
reformers against the simony and clerical marriage practised by the
Church of St. Ambrose. In the twelfth century the movement is heard of
in an increasing number of places, in certain parts of France
including Brittany, in Flanders among all classes, in the Rhine lands.
Milan was supposed to be the headquarters in Italy. In England thirty
persons of humble birth, probably from Flanders, were condemned in
1166, and an article was inserted in the Assize of Clarendon against

[Sidenote: Albigenses.]

But it was in the south of France that the Cathari, no less than the
Waldenses, were chiefly to be found; with this difference,
however--that, whereas the Waldenses confined themselves chiefly to
Provence and the valley of the Rhone, the Cathari were scattered over
a much larger area, although their chief strength lay in the valley of
the Garonne. The town of Albi gave them their name of Albigenses, and
Toulouse was the chief centre of their influence. In 1119 Calixtus II
condemned the heresy at its centre in Toulouse. In 1139, at the second
Lateran Council, Innocent II called upon the secular power for the
first time to assist in expelling from the Church those who professed
heretical opinions. In 1163 Alexander III, at the great Council of
Tours, demanded that secular princes should imprison them. But the
futility of these measures appeared from the colloquy held in 1165 at
Lombers, near Albi, between representatives of the Church and of the
Albigenses before mutually chosen judges, for it made plain the
boldness of the heretics and their claim of equality with the Church.
Indeed, in 1167 they actually held a council of their own at St. Felix
de Caraman, near Toulouse, at which the chief Bishop of the Catharists
was brought from Constantinople to preside, while a number of bishops
were appointed, and all the business transacted was that of an equal
and rival organisation to the Church of Rome.

[Sidenote: Attempts at suppression.]

During the next ten years (1167-77), while the religious allegiance of
Europe was divided by the schism in the Papacy, Catharism gained a
great hold over all classes in Languedoc and Gascony. Raymond V of
Toulouse, the sovereign of Languedoc, finding himself powerless to
check it, appealed for help; but the Kings of France and England

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