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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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 34 of 55)
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him whether a man was Mohammedan, others the peace which he had found in

Jew, or Christian. He chose Arabs as poverty and in trust in God. His com-

his high officials, carried
about a harem in the Mo-
hammedan style, and studied
the philosophy of Averroes
by preference.

The Church had now to
deal with these premonitions
of the downfall of Christian-
ity. She began by drawing
the reins tighter and insisting
upon Easter confession to
secure the ecclesiastical con-
trol of every individual. The
same council made the doc-
trine of transubstantiation a
dogma. For the glorification
of this miracle performed by
the Church the festival of
Corpus Christi was instituted
in 1264. The Church oridered
that the Sacrament should
be adored by all whom the
priest might meet in the street
when he was bearing it. In
the Communion the cup was
reserved more and more for
the priests. The Church,
however, made no inquiries
into actual belief, demanding
only submission. Innocent
III. had laid down that the
confession of true faith was
not a primary necessity, but
only the admission of readi-
ness to agree with the doctrine


plete renunciation of the
world, his fiery love for God
and man, made a tremendous
impression at that moment.
A number of associates like
minded with himself gathered
round him ; these he sent out
" to preach to mankind peace
and repentance for the for-
giveness of sins." For their
benefit he drew up a rule
upon the principles which
Jesus had laid down for His
apostles. He attempted to
secure its confirmation by the
Pope, but Innocent felt that
the spirit of Petrus Waldus
was working here. He feared
that a refusal might drive
this fiery enthusiast into
opposition, as had happened
in the case of Waldus. He
resolved to wait a while before
confirming the rule, but gave
the missionaries permission
to continue their labours.
Within a few years the breth-
ren of Francis penetrated into
one country after another,
and inspired a movement
of mighty power. Many who
were unable themselves to
travel and preach repentance
formed in 1221 the fraternity

eep mpredinee209, known as the "Brothers
of the Church, and that this by the example of Christ, St. Francis o f t h e Repentance of St.

(( . ,. . ,, ' . r . . abandoned his possessions, re- . ,,

implicit belief existed in nounced the world; and went forth Francis ; these were the
cases where a man's belief ^ggZ!?*? ffi^ol Tertiaries, the third Order,
might be erroneous, if he From the statue b y Luca deiia Robbia corresponding to the female
were not aware of the error. What Order, the Clare Sisters, founded in 1212

more could the Church do to make actual
faith simple and to encourage real
Christianity ?

Heresy, moreover, was unable to

or 1224.

Francis was a true son of his Church,
and diverged from its doctrine in no
single point. His object, however, was

annihilate Christianity ; the real religious nof to " unite men with the Church, but

sense of a true personal belief had been to lead them to personal holiness. He

too widely awakened. At this moment did not even desire to found an Order ;

such believers became conscious of the the union which he founded was only a

necessity for a religious revival.

means to an end, and was intended to


help his object of planting Christian
humility by his example in all hearts
wherever possible. The movement, thus
working for religious independence, might
be a considerable menace to the Church
unless it were organised and confined
within ecclesiastical boundaries. The
danger was recognised by Cardinal Ugolino.
afterwards Pope Gregory IX ; he suc-
ceeded in making the free union an order
with a novitiate, with irrevocable vows, and
with a chief elected by a general chapter.

Convents now arose in dif-
ferent countries ; the brothers
devoted themselves to preach-
ing and to the spiritual care
of the people. To increase
their competency for this
purpose they founded schools,
and Franciscans soon occu-
pied professorial chairs in
Paris and Oxford. The
papacy, now fully secularised,
attempted to unite the Order
firmly to itself, and therefore

literary language, desiring, like David of
Augsburg, who died in 1271, to disseminate
among the people that mystical piety
once the special monopoly of scholars.
Others, by popular and stirring sermons,
succeeded in turning misguided humanity
from dead ecclesiasticism to a real refor-
mation of life. Berthold of Regensburg
travelled from Switzerland to Thuringia,
from Alsace to Moravia, attracting every-
where congregations so vast that no church
could contain the multitude of his hearers.
Many marched with him for
days from place to place, in
order to hear a repetition of
his earnest warnings. Under
the influence of his words
deadly enemies embraced one
another, mockers began to
pray, and many restored their
unrighteous gains to those
they had defrauded.

Almost at the same time a
second mendicant Order arose,
founded by St. Dominic ; its

granted it great privileges; JOUN^^P DOMINICANS object was to bring back

in consequence, the Order st. Dominic was the founder of a preaching and spiritual care

acquired wealth. All this was mendicant Order, the object of th e heretics alienated from

,, , , which was to bnngr back by ., _

opposed to the theory of the preaching and spiritual care the the Church. This order also

founder, who in his enthusiasm heretics alienated from th

for poverty and frugality regarded beggary
as an honour. The result was violent
quarrels within the Order concerning this
change of the old rule. We cannot, however,
assert that it would have been more effica-
cious if a lack of organisation and property
had laid it open to every chance influence.
In any case the influence of the Francis-
can order has been infinite. Some of its
members attempted to use German as a


the church. f oun( jed a female branch and a
lay brotherhood of penitents. To it Gregory
IX. in 1232 entrusted those special inquisi-
torial courts which he instituted for the
extirpation of infidelity. Previous to 1 179 we
have seen the movement of personal religion
among the more intellectual classes; the
following period saw a movement towards
the liberation of personal Christianity from
submission to the hierarchical system, in
which the papacy involuntarily helped.



Remarkable for his diplomatic cunning and passionate recklessness, Pope Boniface VIII. engaged in a long struggle
for supremacy with King Philip IV. of France, and when the French nation and the clergy supported their king,
the Pope laid an interdict upon France, and removed the whole clergy of the country from office. He was preparing
to go even further, but on the very day when his Bull excommunicating and deposing Philip was to be proclaimed,
he was apprehended at Anagni by the king's emissaries. Boniface was released a few days later by the
inhabitants of the town, but the experience bad so broken his health that he died a few months afterwards.










IN the year 1294 the papal chair was
* occupied by Boniface VIII. He was a
man of great boldness, of extraordinary
diplomatic cunning, and remarkable for
his passionate recklessness. When Philip
IV. (the Fair) of France proposed, on his
own initiative, to tax Church property,
in order to carry on war against England,
the Pope threatened with excommunica-
tion and interdict, in his Bull " clericis
laicos" in 1296, all who should pay or
exact ecclesiastical contributions without
his permission. The king revenged himself
by prohibiting " the exportation of preci-
ous metal from the country," while the
clergy in England who refused to pay a tax
on account of the Bull were threatened
with outlawry by Edward I. It was
impossible for the Pope to dispense
with his income from France, and he
therefore proceeded to explain away the
force of his Bull. Philip considered that so
compliant a Pope was a suitable arbitrator
to decide his quarrel with England.

Boniface, however, decided
,, ,

as the supreme judge upon

earth, and against the king,
b , . . , '
who thereupon declined to

submit, and burnt this Bull at his court.
Boniface, recognising that a decisive
struggle was now inevitable, resolved
both to advance his prestige and to fill
his purse. He issued a decree of jubilee
for the year 1300, proclaiming that all
who should visit the Church of St. Peter in
Rome during that year, for confession
of sin and penance, should receive " the
most plenary absolution of all their sins."
The result showed with what general
confidence the papal supremacy was still
regarded. The streets of Rome were not
wide enough to contain the masses of the
believers who flocked into the city. Enor-
mous sums flowed into the Pope's treasury.
In full confidence of victory, he sent to
Philip a French bishop, by whom the
king considered himself so insulted that
he imprisoned the envoy and accused him

How Boniface

His Purse

of high treason. The Pope replied by a
prohibition, forbidding the king to exact
any taxes from the Church, and, in 1301,
by the Bull " ausculta fili," which con-
tained the claim, " God has placed us
above kings and kingdoms." Philip re-
Th p ' phed," Your illustrious stupidity

.f e s should know that in secular
Illustrious ,

Q . .... matters we are subject to no

otupidity T j

one. In order to secure
the national support he summoned to the
States General not only the deputies of the
nobility and clergy, but also those of the
towns ; and the consciousness of nationality
was now so vigorous throughout the nation
that the assembly solemnly declared the
French kingdom independent of the Pope.
Carried away by the tide of his
passion, Boniface, in 1302, issued the
memorable Bull, " unam sanctam," an
open proclamation of the papal theory
regarding the Church and the temporal
power. " When the apostles said, See,
here are two swords, that is to say, within
the Church, the Lord did not reply, It is
too many, but It is enough. Hence there
are two swords in the power of the Church,
the ecclesiastical and the secular. The one
is to be used for the Church and the other
by the Church ; the one by the hand of
the priest, the other by the hand of kings
and warriors, but at the order and peri
mission of the priest. By the evidence
of truth the spiritual power must include
the secular and judge it when it is evil.
Should the supreme spiritual power go
astray, it will be judged by God alone,
and cannot be judged by man. More-
over, we declare, assert, determine, and
proclaim that submission to
the bishop of Rome is ab-
solutely necessary for all men

*r ftpftl DAfl i .

to salvation.

When the French nation and the clergy
supported their king, the Pope removed
the whole clergy of the country from their
office. He prepared a Bull threatening
the king with excommunication and



About Rome

deposition, and relieving his subjects of
their oath. On the day, however, before
the solemn proclamation of this Bull, the
king's emissaries made their way to Anagni,
the Pope's summer residence, and took
him prisoner, that he might be brought
before a court. The inhabitants of the
town set him free some days afterwards,
wk F Dut tne experience had broken
e his health, and a few months
afterwards he died. No one
moved a finger to save the
honour of the papacy. Dante wrote : "The
Church of Rome falls into the mire be-
cause the double honour and the double
rule confounded within her defile herself
and her dignity." In France the national
excitement continued ; the nation was not
content to defend the king's procedure
with the pen. For Philip's justification
the Pope, whom death had
taken from the struggle, was
to be prosecuted by a general
council. The enemy, though
defiant before, had lost their
heads in excitement at the
sudden fall of this bold Pope.
His successor used every
conceivable means to pacify
the king, and upon his death
in the following year the
cardinals expended no less
than ten months in the choice
of a successor. Eventually
the French party, who looked
for safety in compliance, won
the day, and a French arch-
bishop was chosen. He resisted

of the papal claims. Because Peter had
been Bishop of Rome, the Pope must be
all that Peter had been. In the eyes of
those who believed that the evidence of
papal primacy was provided by the
Biblical texts, the papacy and Rome
were indivisible. If Popes could reside
elsewhere, they must themselves have
lost their belief in the superiority granted
by Christ and handed down by the apostle
princes. It was not likely that the com-
mon people would believe it, and the idea
emerged that the papacy did not exist
by right divine.

The absence of the papal Curia from
Rome also produced a second effect.
The revenues accruing from the States
of the Church became uncertain, and in
some respects ceased entirely. New taxes
became necessary, and within fifteen
years the French kings paid
no less than three and a half
millions of guldens. This
French papacy, however, gen-
erally preferred splendour and
luxury to economy, and some
new sources of income had
therefore to be provided. In
the first place, many gifts
were made by the countless
numbers who applied to the
Curia for dispensations, privi-
leges, and powers of every
kind. With most astonishing
dexterity the papal ^ rights
were extended to include
patronage and ecclesiastical
appointment, and enormous
sums were received for in-

the requests of the Italian POPE JOHN xxn.
cardinals; and, instead of The year 1314 witnessed the double stitutions or confirmations,
proceeding to Rome to ascend g^J} n J Bavaria^nd 'prederk Special sources of revenue
the chair of St. Peter, he re- of Austria, and the interference were also reserved to the
mainedinFrance. In the year ' Curia, such as the property

1309 he took up his residence in Avignon, left by a bishop at his death, the in-
The seventy years' exile of the papacy come of vacant livings until their re-
now begins. It was a voluntary exile ; occupation, the first year's income of
the Pope and cardinals preferred to live any benefice which amounted to more
under French protection. But a profound than four and twenty guldens,

impression was made upon the Christianity
of that age by the fact that the Popes
no longer resided in Rome. It must

. Many archbishops were obliged
* to pay ten thousand guldens for
y their confirmation, and during

be remembered that the proof of the one year the Curia exacted more than
Roman Bishop's superiority to all bishops 175,000 guldens from the archbishopric of
and of his supremacy over all secular
beings centred in the fact that he occupied

Mainz more than $2,500,000 of our money.
At this time there was much discontent

the chair of Peter. It might be supposed w ith the papacy, and the methods em-
that the tradition of Peter's occupation ployed were most unpopular among all
of the Roman chair for twenty-five years classes. This feeling continued to increase
was a fable invented to convince mankind %$ years went by. In addition to these



facts the Pope, residing near France,
was by no means free. The world was
already aware of the extent to which this
power, which claimed to bind and to loose
all others, was itself in bonds to the French
monarchy, to such an extent indeed that
it could not even contrive to protect the
rich and powerful order of Templars from
the king's avarice.

The Pope indeed forbade the continu-
ance of the prosecution of the Templars,
which had been begun with the prison and
the rack. But he was even forced pub-
licly to declare that the king had proceeded
against the Templars, not for selfish
motives, but in pure zeal for the Church
and was finally forced to pronounce the
dissolution of this unfortunate order.

The part which the papacy played
in this unhappy transaction was the more

During this struggle, which brought
unspeakable confusion to men's conr
sciences, many personalities appeared in
opposition to the Pope, whom no one
would have expected to find against him.
Though the Franciscans now possessed
and enjoyed great property, they wished
to retain their reputation of complete
poverty in contrast to other orders.
They, therefore, declared that they held
the property of the order only in usufruct,
and that the right of ownership belonged
to the Pope, while they solemnly pro-
claimed the opinion that their models,
Christ and His apostles, held no rights
of ownership in their common pos-

This assertion, which aroused the envy of
the Dominicans, was condemned by the
Pope. The chief of the order, Cesena, and


The new tendency of theo-
logical thought found an able
exponent in John Duns Sco-
tus. The Franciscan Order
sent him to Cologne to found
a university, where he died.

likely to lower its prestige when it boldly
proceeded to assert its old claims to pre-
dominance against other princes, and
thereby plunged the whole of Germany
into unspeakable misery. In the year
1314 took place the double election of
Lewis of Bavaria and Frederic of Austria.
Pope John XXII. declined to regard
either as the legitimate sovereign until he
had given his papal decision. When
Lewis took his adversary prisoner, John
forbade any member of the German
Empire to give obedience or support to the
" usurper." The king's counter declar-
ation, that his position depended entirely
upon the choice of the electors, was
answered by the Pope with excommunica-
tion ; when the king appealed to a general
council an interdict was proclaimed on all
persons and districts which should remain
faithful to Lewis.


A pupil of the learned John Duns
Scotus, the great scholar Occam
prepared the way for the down-
fall of the prevailing scholastic
system by the doctrines be taught.

the great scholar of the order, Occam, pro-
tested against this decision and fled to
the German king, Lewis. They accused
the Pope of heresy, and their friends
publicly preached that John was no Pope
but a heretic. As they enjoyed the
prestige of apostolic poverty, their words
found special reverence among the people.
In the end the ord*er gave in its sub-
mission ; but these years of bitter conflict
undermined the papal prestige to the
most dangerous degree.

No small impression was made upon
higher circles by the fact that clever
authors attempted to reduce the Church
and the papacy to their former sphere,
and that the boldness of their attempts
increased. Marsiglio of Padua declared in
his " Defensor pacis " that the papacy was
the chief disturber of the peace, through
its interference with constitutional rights ;



that the supremacy lay, not with the
Church, but with the nation or with the
ruler of its choice, and that this extended
over the servants of the Church. The
Church was not the hierarchy, but the
Christian nation represented in councils.
An even greater impression than that
produced by these radical theories of
natural right was made by the
, writings of the Franciscan,
Revolution in wmiam of Oc cam. He broke

the Church ., , f ,,

the ground for the coming revo-
lution in the Church by his teaching that
the creed and the welfare of the Church
are the supreme law. Hence, in cases of
necessity the traditional order of the
Church must give place to a new organisa-
tion. Hence, also, every prince and the
most simple layman, if only possessed of
the true faith, can acquire extensive
rights over the Church. Neither the hier-
archy nor the papacy is secure against
downfall ; on the contrary, true faith
confers the right of argument with the
Church. Hence a council, though by no
means infallible, is competent to sit
in judgment upon the Pope.

These ideas are closely connected with
the new tendency of theological thought,
and this again runs parallel with the
development of the papacy. As the
supremacy of the Church in political life
disappears, so does that confidence with
which it claimed to rule public opinion
through ecclesiastical science. A revolt
against intellectual tyranny becomes mani-
fest. The schoolman, John Duns Scotus,
who died in 1308, asserted that there
was no logical proof for the existence
of God or for the Trinity. His pupil, the
above-mentioned Occam, differentiated
between natural and religious knowledge,
between science and faith, and thereby
prepared the downfall of the scholastic
system . He definitely re j ected that realism
using the term in its philosophic sense
which had dominated science during the
The Church P eriod [ ecclesiastical supre-
and Christian macy either sought or secured.
Morality Umversals had been con-

sidered as the only reality, and
the individual had been thrown into the
background. Hence that general concep-
tion, the Church, had been regarded as the
reality, while the individual and the de-
tailed decisions of human laws and of
Christian morality were regarded as un-
justifiable when such a view seemed likely
to promote the welfare of the whole that


is, the Church. After the time of Occam
nominalism revives, which teaches that
the universal is only a mere name, nomen,
or abstraction. The only reality is the
individual thing. Hence the individual
believer may be of greater importance
than the hierarchy, which represents the
whole Church, and the papacy is thus
conditioned by the individuals who form
the Church.

We must not forget that, during the
fourteenth century, Popes constantly
secured obedience in political questions
by placing wide districts under an inter-
dict for long years at a time ; in this way
they made it impossible for the Church
to satisfy such religious instincts as still
survived in the people, and the religious
consequences of this procedure are per-
fectly obvious. If the religious spirit did
not disappear entirely, it steadily broke
away from ecclesiastical authority and
struggled for independence. It was no
mere coincidence that exactly at that time
a desire for vernacular translations of the
Bible arose among the people. This was
a need that had already been experienced
by the heretics divided from the Church.
To a question of the Bishop

Burned f MetZ) Innocent IIL had
u c replied that attempts on the

part of the laity to interpret the
Scriptures were culpable presumption ;
in order, however, not to alienate such men
from the Church by excessive strictness,
they might be left with the Bible transla-
tions in their hands, provided they were not
thereby seduced to a lack of reverence for
the apostolic chair. In Metz, the trans-
lations of the Bible were thereupon confis-
cated and burnt ; and a series of councils
prohibited unauthorised translations of
any theological books in the vernacular.

Now that the prestige of the papacy was
sunk to a low ebb, men began to look for
some other basis even within the Church.
With the desire for personal faith arose
also a popular tendency to draw imme-
diately upon that source of truth which
Occam had praised as a supreme authority.
In the most varied districts men pro-
ceeded to translate the whole Bible, or
individual books of it, into the vernacular
tongues. In the year 1369 the Emperor
Charles IV. prohibited " all books in the
vernacular dealing with holy Scripture,"
but was unable to prevent the satisfaction
of this desire when once it had been


The individualist tendency of Chris-
tianity is also evidenced by the wide-
spread spirit of mysticism in the fourteenth
century and by the new manner in which
it was put forward. Notwithstanding the
dislike felt by strict churchmen of religious
writings in any other language than Latin,
which was intelligible only to scholars,
souls were now led to communion with
God by means of the vernacular tongues.
Abstracted from outward things, absorbed
in self-contemplation, the soul was to
find God and to rejoice in His presence.
Such was the teaching of the profound
master Ekkehard of Hochheim near
Gotha, who died in 1327 ; " God's being is to
our life." Summoned before the Inquisition,

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 34 of 55)