This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
Buy it on Amazon FREE Audible 30 days

[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, 1187.

[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, 1209).

[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 protests.

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 successors.”

[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 Easter.”

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 intercession.

[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 Church.

[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 heresy.

[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 them.

[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