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and the purchase or even the acceptance of the same to be the sin unto death in a priest. A married priest, however, was not less abominable than a simoniacal priest; and they recoiled with no less horror from matrimony among the clergy than from portentous profligacy in the vicar of Christ.35 They welcomed the imperial cleanser, but chafed beneath the imperial master. They wanted the papacy purified that it might become not a handmaiden but a mistress. They used the empire to cleanse the popedom, and then wielded the purified popedom for the subjugation of the empire. They took the rigid and unstained popes of Henry's appointing, and sought to mould them into ambitious and enterprising sovereigns of the Church. They set about converting imperial nominees into papal monarchs. On the death of Damasus II. (1049), the Roman clergy and people awaited the will of their German master, who sent them a strict and devout German bishop, Leo IX. On his journey to Rome Leo stopped at the French monastery of Cluny, where, more than a century afterwards, Abelard prayed and died; here he fell in with a young Italian sojourner, Hildebrand, who persuaded him to undo as far as he could the imperial nomination by doffing the robes of sovereignty, by entering Rome as a pilgrim and not as a pope, and resuming them after his election there. Leo followed the advice, took the adviser with him to Rome, and straightway promoted Hildebrand.36
A great man was now in his right place: Hildebrand now began his great work. No man ever more clearly knew what he wanted, no man more unswervingly pursued his object, and few men more completely attained it, than did this marvellous aggrandiser of the Roman See. To rule, and it may be to regenerate, the world through the papal power-to make the pope absolute over the Church, and the Church absolute over the State, to revive imperial Rome in papal Rome-to bring about this, he devoted an inflexible will, an ample genius, a
35 St. Bruno, in his life of Pope Leo IX. (Muratori, tom. iii. pt. ii. pp. 348–54), in enumerating the scandals of the time, ends with the anti-climax of clerical wedlock: The whole world lay in wickedness, or in the wicked one (mundus totus in maligno positus erat); there was an utter dearth of holiness, righteousness was no more, and truth was in the tomb; iniquity was supreme, avarice held sway; Simon Magus lorded it over the Church; bishops and priests were given over to pleasure and whoredom; priests did not blush to take wives openly; they got wedded, they formed unholy marriages' (pp. 346-7).
36 Vita Sancti Leonis, Muratori, tom. iii. pt. ii. p. 349. Baronius, an. 1069, no. 1, 2, 3.
wonderful power over the minds of men, and the incessant labours of thirty-five years. He may have had lofty spiritual ends, but they were merged in his ecclesiastical objects. He may have combined the love of souls with the pursuit of pontifical domination; but the evangelist was swallowed up in the pontifical champion. The Roman Church recognised him as her guide long before he became her head. Pope after pope was chosen by his influence, filled with his spirit and led by his counsels. A vigorous warfare was waged against simony and clerical matrimony; imperial interference in the making of pontiffs and bishops was at first covertly and then openly resisted. The work was greatly furthered by the death of Henry III. in 1056, the most potent of all the German Cæsars and the most absolute master that the Roman See has ever known except Marozia and Philip the Fair of France. A true man of might, he might have baffled even Hildebrand; a true Cæsar, he might have kept the papacy in bondage; but his widow Agnes and his infant son Henry IV. were no meet opponents of the mighty Roman champion, who made the most of the opportunity. In 1059, he got from Stephen II. a solemn declaration of the incompatibility of marriage with the priesthood, got the papal election regulated to the disadvantage of the empire, and at last, in 1061, got Alexander II. chosen pope without any imperial intervention.37
But Rome was not the only scene of Hildebrand's activity; priests and pontiffs were not his only creatures and instruments. The eleventh century far surpassed its immediate predecessors in life and productive energy, intellectual and political. Its mighty men the Normans, busy and victorious everywhere, subjugators of Southern Italy and Sicily, conquerors of England, and vanquishers of the Eastern and the Western emperors, combined with their irresistible valour and military skill fervent devotion and a lively love of learning. William the Conqueror was not more undeniably the greatest prince of the age than the Lombard Lanfranc, whom he made archbishop of Canterbury, was its greatest scholar. If England found that Norman yoke, under which she fell in this century, harsh and oppressive, she found it in the end invigorating and renewing. If France, under the new dynasty of the Capets, did not at once become a powerful monarchy, if she remained during this age politically
37 Baronius, an. 1059, n. 24, 37; an. 1061, passim.
weak, she waxed intellectually and socially strong; her feudalism was potent and contagious; her mind was active and communicative. The Normans bore her language, her customs, and her intellectual tendencies, across the Alps and over the Channel. Berenger, the chief theologian of the time, was a Frenchman; and the controversy about transubstantiation, whereof he was the foremost impugner and Lanfranc the foremost champion, was mainly a French controversy. In this century, too, the Spaniards, under the Cid and king Alphonso VI. of Castile, got for the first time clearly and decidedly the better of their Mohammedan conquerors, and became sure of that victory which it took yet four centuries to win. And this age, so full of great men and so thronged with great events, bowed before Hildebrand as before its master-spirit. Everywhere he schemed and wrought for the glory of the Roman See; he pressed all sorts of men into the service. His energy pervaded Christendom and subjected alike the chief thinkers and the chief rulers of the age— Lanfranc and Berenger, Robert the Wizard and William the Bastard. Not without his intervention was the victory secured to transubstantiation; not without his interference were kingdoms lost and won. At the beginning of his career the great military power of the age had formed a close alliance with the Roman See. The exploits of the Normans were the marvels of the time. Conquerors of Southern Italy with wonderful rapidity and against tremendous odds, they aroused the fear and hate of all their neighbours by their astonishing valour and extraordinary rapacity. A confederacy was formed against them with Pope Leo IX. at its head. In 1053 the pontiff went forth to battle against them, saw his numerous army utterly discomfited by a little band of these matchless warriors at Civitella, and won from his defeat and captivity honours and advantages such as the most splendid victories seldom bring. The victorious Normans knelt in shame and sorrow before their vanquished captive, accepted their own conquests as papal fiefs, and became tributaries of the defeated Roman See, which thus strangely acquired the sovereignty of Naples and Sicily.38 The vicar of Christ was not only a king and a king-maker, but became a feudal lord. Thirteen years afterwards another and a still more memorable victory of the Normans brought scarcely
38 Sancti Leonis Vita, Muratori, tom. iii. pt. ii. p. 350. Gaufridi Malaterræ Historia Sicula, Muratori, tom. v. p. 553. William of Apulia, in his poem, De Rebus Normannorum, strikingly describes the battle of Civitella (Muratori, tom. v. pp. 259-61).
less gain and glory to the popedom than did this fortunate overthrow. Whilst the Normans fought at Civitella against the papal standard and beneath the papal curse, on the more famous field of Hastings the banner of Rome waved over their army, and the curse of Rome lay upon the English host. The Norman conquest was a victory of the popedom, and in no small measure the work of Hildebrand. He at once lent himself to the ambition of William and the proposals of Lanfranc, eagerly seized this opportunity of taking away and giving kingdoms, doomed an unoffending nation to subjection for the honour and profit of the Roman See, procured for the Normans a papal banner and a papal bull, hallowed a most unrighteous invasion, and enjoyed a most ruthless conquest.3
At last the master-spirit of the age won the foremost place in Christendom. In 1073 Hildebrand became Gregory VII. The guide of the papacy during twenty-five years became pope. The chief upholder of the papal monarchy became the monarch. At the head of a host at once obedient and enthusiastic, severely disciplined and intensely inspired, the captain of an army of priests filled with one spirit and set upon one object, purified from all soft and shameful vices, delivered from the enervation of simony and the distraction of wedlock, Gregory advanced to the conquest of the world, to the humiliation of all thrones beneath the pontifical throne, and to the establishment of another Roman empire, which he fondly believed would be universal and everlasting.
The second act of the papal drama may be said to have closed here; the second period of the popedom came to an end-a period of about three hundred years, from the middle of the eighth to the latter portion of the eleventh century (750-1073), from the close of its connection with the Greek empire to the beginning of its conflict with the German empire a period which found the pope an influential personage and left him a temporal sovereign; which found him predominant and left him monarch in the Church; which found his spiritual sovereignty vigorously asserted, and left his infallibility all but unquestioned-a period for the most part of general violence, suffering, darkness, confusion, and almost of dissolution-a period of manifold debasement for the popedom, of defilement by monsters, and of subjection to princes-a period
39 Baronius, an. 1066, n. 3-6.
bitterly bemoaned by the devotees, and not unenjoyed by the foes, of the Roman Church-but yet a period of decided growth, though of very slow, gradual, and often-hindered growth, for the papacy. Amidst the general darkness the popedom glared more broadly; the wildness and confusion everywhere were favourable to the advance of a power in real harmony with the evil time while pretending to be above it. The spiritual authority of the papal chair steadily grew while that chair was in the occupation of depraved boys and monstrous men.
But the papacy was to exhaust the whole experience of an earthly polity, to be visited by every change, to know all the weal and all the woe, all the ignominy and all the glory whereof a kingdom of this world is capable. The period of comparative weakness and utter shame was to be succeeded by a season of marvellous might and majesty. From being at once horrible and contemptible, the popedom was to become awful and terrible. The vicars of Christ, after having outsinned the monarchs of this world in grovelling lusts and personal profligacy, were to leave them far behind in width of sway and absoluteness of dominion, in sternness of pride and fierceness of wrath.