James Bryce Bryce.

The book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) online

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individual Christian gain through such
beliefs !

Bernard is also in agreement with
the ideal of ecclesiastical supremacy, and
regards the Pope as the head of Christen-
dom. When the struggle broke out again
between Pope and Emperor he helped the
papacy to victory. With no clear con-
sciousness of the inconsistency, he ascribed
claims of supremacy to those who were
bound to God by love. In consequence he
was himself able to intervene
in all ecclesiastical movements,
and could even offer serious
advice and stern exhortation to
the Pope. This new tendency he com-
municated to the order which his initiative
made influential, that of the Cistercians,
which he entered in 1115 with thirty
companions. In contrast to the Quniacs,
who had already become worldly minded,
in spite of their original seriousness,
these monks were to live in the strictest
renunciation. Quiet contemplation and
busy effort, both inspired equally by the
love of Jesus, were to fill their ' lives.
Bernard also attempted to bring the laity
into this sanctuary. The institution of a
lay brotherhood, which already existed
in embryo, was further developed in this

At that time arose a large number of
orders pursuing different objects. These
were so many manifestations of the
awakening spirit of religious individualism.
Tjhe religious community of Grammont,
founded by Stephen of Thiers, was to
follow no human rule, but the threefold
law, of the Gospel poverty, humility, and
patience. Bruno of Cologne attempted to
surpass the strictness of all previous orders
in, his, foundation of the Chartreuse, which

and the

he planted in an almost uninhabitable
mountain gorge. To this retreat he was
driven by indignation at the unspiritual
character of the Church. The Carthusians,
or the monks of Chartreuse, were even
denied the consolation of conversation.

When the preacher of the Crusade, Robert

of Abrissel, had roused the enthusiasm of

large numbers of men and

Birth of i i i r

the K ' htl women > wno were incapable of
mg y crusa( jj n g e ff or t h e un ited them

Urders . , / ^ V J .* , . .

in the Order of Fontevraud, in
which enthusiasm for the Holy Land was
replaced by enthusiastic veneration for
the Virgin Mary. Lay brethren who
served in the hospital connected with
the monastery combined to form Hospital
Orders, among which that of St. Antonius
was best known. From crusading en-
thusiasm rose the knightly Orders of the
Templars, the Knights of St. John, and
the Teutonic Knights, in whom German
chivalry was combine^* with Catholic
monasticism and the service of Christian
love. As the mysticism of Bernard found
the highest flight of .faith in thq most
humble and self-sacrificing; love of Christ,
so these orders regarded the most dis-
tinguished proof of knighthood as the
service of pilgrims to the Holy Sepulchre,
the help of the sick and ' miserable
a further proof that the fundamental ideas
of Christianity were being reconceived.
The Premonstratensians attempted to
raise the secular clergy from their de-
gradation, and thus to improve their
spiritual efficacy among the people.

At such a period the expansive powers
of the Church inevitably resumed
activity. They may also ' have con-
tributed to the Crusades. The Church
sent Saint Vicelin to work among the
Wends of Holstein, a labour carried out
with unspeakable trouble and constant
disappointment. The Church raised a
crusade against the Abodrites of Mecklen-
burg, and when this effort proved abortive,
R . inspired the Cistercian monk,

Berno, to sow the seed of
Otto the ~, . ., ,

Missionary Christianity with unwearying

effort upon this hard ground.
The Church again induced Bishop Otto
of Bamberg to undertake his missionary
journeys to Pomerania.

The problem then arose whether the
hierarchy would interpret these as the
signs of a new period. Would they join
the movement towards personal religion
and recognise that movement as largely a



protest against their methods and their
aims ? Or would they continue to regard
the outward sovereignty of the world as
their supreme object, and thus for ever
lose the opportunity of leadership in their
true religious sphere ?

Once again it seemed as though supreme
power was to fall, not to the papacy
but to the empire. Henry VI. (1190-
1197), a son of the great Barbarossa, be-
came master of the whole of Italy. Homage
was done to him by Cyprus, Armenia,
and Antioch ; the Greek Empire and the
Mohammedan princes of North Africa

by no common ambition or selfishness ; he
had no love for the world, or desire for
power as an end in itself. His thorough
mediaeval piety led him to despise the
world and to renounce its joys ; and if he
sought supremacy, it was because the con-
sciousness of his responsibilities impelled
him to give the miseries of the world some
show of godliness. He succeeded where
Gregory VII. had failed, and where Alexan-
der III. had been only half successful.
Innocent was indeed a favourite of fortune.
The widow of Henry VI. feared that her
son, who was only three years old, could


At the beginning of the twelfth century there sprang into existence quite a number of ecclesiastical orders these
being indications of the awakening spirit of religious individualism. Bernard of Clairvaux was drawn to the order
of the Cistercians, and, with thirty companions, entered it in 1115. These monks agreed to live in the strictest
renunciation, and their lives were to be filled by quiet contemplation and busy effort, both inspired by the love of Jesus.

paid him tribute. Westward he pro-
posed to extend his supremacy over
France and Spain, eastward over Syria
and Palestine. His achievements and plans
were then suddenly destroyed by death,
and a few months later the papal chair
was occupied by a man who seemed
designed for imperial rule ; this was
Innocent III. His intellect was as keen as
his will was powerful, while his foresight
was not inferior to his tenacity ; he never
hesitated in the pursuit of his objects, and
he showed no fastidiousness in his choice of
means. His imperialism was inspired


not retain possession of his Sicilian inherit-
ance without some powerful ally. She
therefore accepted the kingdom as a papal
fief and made the Pope guardian of her
son. After her death Innocent wrote to
the boy that he might thank the Lord
who had given him a better father in place
of his earthly parent, and a better mother
namely, the motherly care of the
Church. When the Germans desired a
man at the head of the empire, some
electing Otto of Brunswick and others
Philip of Swabia, the Pope declared that
as he had the right oi conferring the


imperial crown, he was also bound to
scrutinise the election of a German king,
and, in the case of a doubtful election, to
decide whether one of the rivals or
a third should receive the crown. He
declared in favour of Otto, and his
legates proclaimed the excommunication
of Otto's opponent. Innocent's position
became desperate as Philip's power
steadily increased. However, the murder
of this opponent extricated the Pope
from a difficult situation in 1208. But
now Otto, though previously compliant,


The founder of the Order of the Chartreuse, Bruno of Cologne, attempted to sur-
pass the strictness of all previous orders ; and, planting his convent in a mountain
gorge, he retired to it.

attempted to recover the ecclesiastical
rights which he had surrendered to secure
the crown . I nnocent excommunicated him ,
and relieved his subjects of their oath of
allegiance. Frederic, the son of Henry VI.,
who was now a youth, promised the Pope
all that he desired, and Innocent therefore
placed Frederic on the throne in 1212.
Thus the proud family of the Hohen-
stauffen became subject to the papal chair.
Philip Augustus of France had divorced
his wife Ingeborg, and married Agnes

of Meran, the daughter of a German duke.
The Pope laid the whole of France
under an interdict, declaring to his legate
that the affair, if properly conducted,
would redound to the credit of the apos-
tolic chair. France was forced to yield,
and the king to make an outward show
of submission. Upon the death of his
beloved Agnes he was deeply grieved by
the illegitimacy attaching to her children,
and the Pope then declared them legitimate,
exercising his power by way of consent,
as he had formerly shown it in refusal.
King Alfonso IX. of Leon
also experienced the power
of the Pope on his marriage
with his niece. King
Sancho I. of Portugal, who
had defied an archbishop,
was reduced to obedience.
King Pedro II. of Aragon
voluntarily declared his
kingdom to be a papal fief.
The Bulgarian prince Kalo-
joannes petitioned Innocent
to grant him a crown. The
Pope decided cases in Hun-
gary, Sweden, and Norway.
In England a dispute had
broken out concerning the
appointment of the Arch-
bishop of Canterbury. In-
nocent declared the two
elections to be null and
void, summoned the elec-
tors to Rome, and forced
them to appoint a third
candidate, his friend
Stephen Langton. Furious
at this interference, King
John of England swore by
the teeth of God that he
would hang Langton as
soon as he set foot upon
English soil. Innocent
drew his usual weapon ; he
laid the kingdom under an
interdict, the king under sentence of
excommunication and deposition, and
finally assigned his country to the king of
France, promising great benefits to the
latter and to his army, such as had for-
merly been assured to the Crusaders.
John then crawled to the foot of the
cross, and, not content with yielding
the point in dispute, surrendered his land
to the Holy See, to receive it again as a
papal fief. The promises made to the
French king naturally no longer held good ;




Philip would never give so much as
had been obtained from John. The
princes were as puppets in the hands of
the Pope. He was able to triumph even
over the Greek Church, which had proved
so refractory towards the successor of
St. Peter. The host of the Fourth Crusade
conquered Constantinople and founded the
L Latin Empire in 1204 ; and In-
n nocent could rejoice that, after
the destruction of the golden
calves, Israel had returned to
Judah. These victories of the papacy over
the temporal powers were accompanied by
an extension of its ecclesiastical preroga-
tives. Ecclesiastical legislation, which
had formerly belonged to the synods, fell
more and more into the hands of the
Pope. He decided individual questions of
administration and right, while lawyers
who had been trained in
Roman jurisprudence in-
structed the Pope to regard
every papal decision as a
precedent of binding force in
future cases.

Innocent completely severed
the old ties which had united
the German Church and the
crown. Otto, and afterwards
Frederic, had sacrificed all
their ecclesiastical rights in
order to secure the crown.
They renounced the regalities
and the " Jus Spoliorum,"


definitely to individual bishops for posts
in their gift. Innocent claimed this right
as one founded upon " the plenitude of the
ecclesiastical power " (the right of pro-
vision), and extended his claims to include
the power of disposing of the reversionary
interest to posts not yet vacant (right of

Formerly candidates for ecclesiastical
office were obliged to make payments
to the secular lords as owners of the
churches in question ; now that this
" simoniacal " practice was abolished,
they were obliged to pay the Pope. The
difference between the two institutions
consisted solely in the fact that dues had
now to be paid upon all business com-
munications with the Curia, and that in
certain cases these reached an extra-
ordinary height, but were no longer known
as simony. Clerical freedom
from taxation, with its con-
sequent and entire independ-
ence of political life, was
regarded by Innocent as in-
sufficiently secured by the
arrangements of Alexander
III. Innocent announced
that exceptional and volun-
tary contributions of the
clergy to the expenses of the
state required papal permis-
sion before payment. On the
POPE INNOCENT in. other hand, he claimed the

A. man of keen intellect, powerful right of taxing the whole of

and left Rome entirely free wiu> and thorou & h p*y, innocent Christendom for his own pur-
to receive appeals and issue S^^SKSSfS^ P*> and actuall Y **<! this

the he succeeded where some of his right in Support of a Crusade.
ex- predecessors had signally failed. Innocent displayed to the eyCS

bishops, and of the world his unexampled power and

citations ; they gave
cathedral chapters the
elusive right of electing
recognised the canonical objections which
the Pope raised to such elections. Hence
Innocent was able to exercise an unques-
tioned right of scrutiny and confirmation
in the case of episcopal elections. He was
able to establish the rule that if he rejected
an election as uncanonical, application
must be made to him for a second candi-
date, or " postulation," and that when rival
candidates were elected, the decision
should lie with him. In consequence it
was possible for him to concede the
postulation, or make his own appointments
conditional upon such promises as the oath
of obedience to the Pope. Nor was it
only over the bishoprics that his power
extended. For a considerable time pre-
viously the Popes had been in the habit
of recommending candidates more or less


supreme dominion on the occasion of his
great Lateran Council in 1215. More than
four hundred bishops had accepted his
invitation, together with eight hundred
abbots, many princes, lords, and am-
bassadors from kings and republics. In
the midst of this brilliant assembly the
_ _ Pope occupied the throne as

e f /** t the representative of God upon

Splendour of ,r

P earth, in splendour such as

Rome never beheld before or
since. After his death, in 1216, the
struggle for the supremacy broke out
again between the Hohenstauffen and the
papacy, and the result was that Conradin,
the last of the Hohenstauffen, ended his
life upon the scaffold in 1268.

The missionary activity of the Church
was in proportion to its supreme power.




Massacres at
the Conversion
of Prussia

For this age the peaceful preaching of
Christianity seemed too slow a process.
Crusades were organised against the
heathen Livonians, and the Order of the
Knights of the Sword was founded in Riga
to crush any opposition to the Church.
The conversion of Prussia was accom-
panied by massacres, and appeals were
made for the help of the
Teutonic Order. This ap-
palling struggle continued
for fifty years, annihilated a
large proportion of the rightful owners of
the country, and ended with the supremacy
of the Teutonic Order over Prussia.

The intellectual weapons of science
were employed with equal vigour in the
service of the Church. Ecclesiastical
science may be compared with those
Gothic piles which then arose, which seem
to remove their stone material from the
influence of gravitation, forcing it to rise
majestically so high, though with full
solidity and coherence ; so also ecclesias-
tical science was combined and built into
systems, into that scholasticism which
comprehended all human thought and
knowledge, all speculation and contem-
plation, within a magnificent system in-
tended to protect Church doctrine from
doubt or opposition. It seemed impossible
that the world should doubt when such a
system showed the necessity or the
rationality of all that the Church would
have men believe. " See," cries Richard
of Saint Victor, " how easily the intellect
can prove that the Godhead must be a
plurality of persons, neither more nor less
than three in number." Another thinks it
possible to prove the doctrines of the
Church by strict logical treatment, even
to such as do not recognise its authority
to Jews, Mohammedans, and heretics.
This science also proved, by the mouth
of the famous Thomas of Aquinum,
who died in 1274 [see page 47], that
salvation was to be found only in the
Church from her priests and
sacraments, beneath the

shad W . f the P P e ' The
Pope decides the nature of

Church doctrine. He is above all princes,
and as the governor of Christ can depose
them and relieve all subjects of their
allegiance. Otto of Freising writes at this
date : " The kingdom of Christ seems at
the present time to have received almost
all the things promised to it, with the
exception of immortality."



Now, however, that the Church had
attained these long-standing ambitions,
we have to ask, what was the nature of its
inner life ? The question may be answered
by examining the decrees passed in that
famous Lateran Council. The council
considered that it was necessary to draw
up a confession of faith, and to enforce
measures of the utmost severity for the
extermination of the countless heretics
who had appeared in the Church. It con-
sidered the decree inevitable that every
man who had not confessed his sins to a
priest at least once a year and received
Holy Communion should be excluded
from the Church. Though the Church
can rule the world, she steadily loses
her hold upon souls. Though imagin-
ing that all is subject to her as a matter
of faith, her faith is yet rejected. This is
more than a chance coincidence. The
foundation of faith begins to shake beneath
the superincumbent structure of temporal
power. The claims of the apostolic power
and of its servants have become pre-
sumptuous, the manner of their asser-
tion too often intolerable, and the proofs
adduced too threadbare. The people
turned in numbers to the
at .* e heretics, who desired no earthly

Heretics > AVI

A . supremacy and no earthly

Aimed at ;L,

riches. Ihe apostles of the
Cathari and the wandering preachers of
the Waldenses led a truly apostolic life
of humility and poverty. In Southern
France, where the Cathari were generally
known as Albigenses, from the little town
of Albi, the princes and lords of the country
belonged to their congregation almost
without exception. In this quarter the
Church had been almost supplanted by
the sectaries ; these same enemies of
ecclesiasticism had overrun Italy, and
were predominant in Spain and in the
Netherlands. About the middle of the
twelfth century Bernard of Clairvaux,
and other devoted servants of the Church,
had spoken in favour of a method that
should " bring back the wicked to re-
pentance by patience and long suffering,"
and not by the sword. Such characters
as Innocent III. could not possibly doubt
that, as the Church was certainly called
to rule the world, her opponents could
claim no right of existence. His legate,
Arnold of Citeaux, was sent to France,
and summoned the king and nobility to a
crusade against the heretics in 1208.
Thousands were slain by this army, and


in the single town of Beziers 20,000 are
said to have perished in one day. In
1215 the heretics were by no means ex-
terminated, and the Lateran Council,
therefore, issued a decree that all temporal
lords should purify their lands of heresy
on pain of excommunication and deposi-
tion, and that episcopal commissaries
were to examine and to exterminate
heretics. The world-wide power of the
Church was unable to exist without the

Not only the Church, as such, but
Christianity itself, was menaced by a
different movement, which appeared
sporadically ; this was a tendency to
freethought widely disseminated, especially
among the educated classes. The origin
of the tendency is not far to seek. There
is no greater menace to the power of
faith than the use of it by its chief ex-
ponents to support interests purely secular,
especially when, as in that age, the Church
based all belief upon authority, and made
doubt of her authority a sin of infidelity,
while upon the other side a yearning for
independent religious conviction had
arisen in many minds. In high-sounding

religious phrases the Popes
eac mgs ^ a( j excommunicated prince

after prince, had preached on

Popes j .i_ r " ij.

one day the duty of revolt
against an emperor, and on the rie^xt
the necessity of rebellion against a -'his
opponent, with a persistence that aroused'
suspicion. The scholastic philosophers 1
had attempted to make the creeds an
acceptable system, but those appeals to
reason which they brought forward could
bring conviction only to minds still con-
vinced of ecclesiastical authority.

Eventually a host of new impressions
overwhelmed men's minds. The Crusades
had brought a knowledge of the East,
and the West had learnt to know the
" infidel " Mohammedans. It was ob-
served with surprise that they were by
no means morally bad, and were, in this
respect, even more to be respected than
many Christians. Hence, it seemed
possible that the uniqueness of Christianity
existed solely in the imagination of the
Church. The different religions appeared
like identical rings, each of the owners of
which were merely foolish in regarding
his own as the only genuine example.
More was learned of the philosophy of the
" heathen " Aristotle, and study produced
admiration. The works of the Arabian

philosophers became known, especially
those of Averroes, who died in 1198, and
the systems of the Jewish philosophers
which had arisen under their influence. In
consequence, questions hitherto unknown
came into prominence and shattered the
traditional beliefs.

At the University of Paris this tendency
to freethought was openly manifested.

So early as 1207 Amalric of
Religion only r, J ,,. *,.

Bena was obliged to renounce
lor the ,

, , heresies of this nature ; and,
Lower Classes ' ,

as he was supposed to have

derived them from Aristotle, Innocent III.
prohibited the study of this great philoso-
pher's scientific works. In the year 1240
the bishop and chancellor of Paris were
obliged to oppose the teaching of Averroes,
which had made its way to the university.
Averroes had taught that while religion
was indispensable for the masses, it could
represent supreme truth only in symbolical
form, whereas philosophy possessed such
truth in its purity. Philosophical teachers
attacked theological truths, and, when
called to account, proceeded to explain
that heresy was an ecclesiastical concep-
tion, but that philosophy had no connec-
tion with the Church, and that religion
need not be taught to students, as it
existed only for the lower classes.

Under the protection of this theory the
teaching that God created the world out of
nothing was explained to be sheer nonsense.
Organic life had developed from inorganic
matter. The world was governed, not
by God, but rather by a rational necessity,
or by chance. Attacks were also directed
against the ethical system which had
hitherto held the field. The monastic
theory was unnatural, and genuine
morality was not impaired by the influence
of material life. The shortness of life
should rather teach men the enjoyments of
its benefits. The satisfaction, for instance,
of the sexual instincts was, in any case,
a moral desire, and the strict-
ness of the marriage laws was
senseless prejudice. A further
centre of freethought would,
perhaps, hardly have been discovered
had not a renewed struggle between Pope
and emperor brought it before our eyes.
Frederic II., who had grown up as the
ward of the Pope, and had been educated
as a blindly devoted son of the Church,
proceeded to defy both Pope and Church.
He regarded the different religions as so
many conflicting theories of equal truth


Defies Pope
and Church


or falsehood, and was accustomed to mock It was in the year 1209 that Giovanni

at Christian doctrine with confidential Bernardone, better known as Francis of

friends. The epigram about the three Assisi, heard at Mass the lesson from

impostors Moses, Christ, and Mohammed St. Matthew's Gospel, which relates how

which is ascribed to him by his enemies, Jesus sent out His disciples to preach the

may not be historical, but his life clearly Gospel, without gold or silver, without

showed the laxity of his religious views, shoes or staff. Deeply moved, he aban-

It was a matter of total indifference to doned his possessions, and announced to

Online LibraryJames Bryce BryceThe book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) → online text (page 33 of 55)