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§ 81. Peter de Bruys and Other Independent Leaders.


Independent of the Cathari and yet sharing some of their views and uniting with them in protest against the abuses of the established Church, were Peter de Bruys, Henry of Lausanne, and other leaders. Peter and Henry exercised their influence in Southern France. Tanchelm and Eudo preached in Flanders and Brittany. At least three of them died in prison or otherwise suffered death by violence. Bernard of Clairvaux, Peter the Venerable, Otto of Freising, and other contemporary Catholic writers are very severe upon them and speak contemptuously of their followers as drawn from the ignorant classes.

Tanchelm, a layman, preached in the diocese of Cologne and westwards to Antwerp and Utrecht. There was at the time only a single priest in Antwerp, and he living in concubinage. Tanchelm pronounced the sacraments of no avail when performed by a priest of immoral life and is said to have turned "very many from the faith and the sacraments."10181018    Fredericq, Corpus Inq., I. 6. For Tanchelm, see Fredericq, vols. I. and II., and Life of Norbert in Mon. Germ., ch. 16. He surrounded himself with an armed retinue and went through the country carrying a sword and preceded by a flag. Success turned his head. According to his contemporary, Abaelard, he gave himself out to be the Son of God.10191019    Introd. ad Theol., in Migne, 178. 1056, and Fredericq, I. 26.emony of marrying the Virgin Mary, with her portrait before him. The people are said by Norbert’s biographer to have drunk the water Tanchelm washed in. He was imprisoned by the archbishop of Cologne, made his escape, and was killed by a priest, 1115. His preaching provoked the settlement of twelve Premonstrants in Antwerp, and Norbert himself preached in the Netherlands, 1124.

The movement in Brittany was led by Eudo de l’Etoile, who also pretended to be the Son of God. He was one of the sect of the Apostolicals, a name given to heretical groups in France and Belgium whose members refused flesh and repudiated marriage and other sacraments.10201020    Döllinger, I. 98-104. Otto of Freising, De gestis Frid., 54, says he called himself Eudo or Eon, from the liturgical formula, per eum qui venturus est judicare, etc. He is also mentioned by Abaelard in his Introd. ad Theol.

The movement led by Peter de Bruys and Henry of Lausanne was far more substantial. Both leaders were men of sound sense and ability. Of the personal fortunes of Peter, nothing more is known than that he was a priest, appeared as a reformer about 1105 in Southern France, and was burnt to death, 1126. Peter the Venerable has given us a tolerably satisfactory account of his teachings and their effect.10211021    Adv. Petrobrusianos, Migne, 189. 719-850. Abaelard gives a few lines to him. Migne, 178. 1056. Peter speaks of Peter de Bruys and Henry of Lausanne as duo homuncios, p. 728. See Döllinger, I. 75-98.

Of Henry of Lausanne, Peter’s successor, we know more.10221022    See Peter the Venerable, Adv. Petrobrus., Bernard, Ep., 241, in Migne, 182. 435. Döllinger, I. 79 sqq.; J. von Walter, Die ersten Wanderprediger Frankreichs, II. 130-140; Hauck, in Herzog, VIII. 606 sqq.ls us, he at one time lived there. The place of his birth is not known. Abandoning the convent, he preached in the diocese of Le Mans during the absence of its bishop, Hildebert, in Rome, and by his permission. Henry won the people, but drew upon himself the hostility of the clergy whose vices he denounced. The bishop, on his return, expelled Henry from his diocese. The evangelist then went to Lausanne and from there to Southern France, joining in the spiritual crusade opened by Peter de Bruys. He practised poverty and preached it to the laity. One of the results of his preaching was that women of loose morals repented and young men were persuaded to marry them. Cardinal Alberic, sent to stamp out the Henrician heresy, called to his aid St. Bernard, the bishop of Chartres and other prelates. According to Bernard’s biographer, miracles attended Bernard’s activity.10231023    Vita S. Bernardi, Migne, 185, 312 sqq. See the Lives of Bernard by Neander-Deutsch, II. 191-231; Vacandard, II. 200 sqq.; Morison, p. 302 sqq., 404 sq.

Peter the Venerable, at the outset of his treatise, laid down five errors of the Petrobrusians which he proposed to show the falseness and wickedness of. (1) The baptism of persons before they have reached the years of discretion is invalid. Believers’ baptism was based upon Mark 16:16, and children, growing up, were rebaptized. (2) Church edifices and consecrated altars are useless. (3) Crosses should be broken up and burnt. (4) The mass is nothing in the world. (5) Prayers, alms, and other good works are unavailing for the dead. These heresies the good abbot of Cluny called the five poisonous bushes, quinque vigulta venenata, which Peter de Bruys had planted. He gives half of his space to the refutation of the heresy about baptism.

Peter and Henry revived the Donatistic view that piety is essential to a legitimate priesthood. The word "Church" signifies the congregation of the faithful and consists in the unity of the assembled believers and not in the stones of the building.10241024    Nomen ecclesiae congregationem fidelium signat, etc., Pet. Ven., p. 762. Peter goes back as far as Noah’s altar to prove the sacredness of localities.able as in a consecrated edifice. They preached on the streets and in the open places. As for the cross, as well might a halter or a sword be adored. Peter is said to have cooked meat in the fire made by the crosses he piled up and burnt at St. Gilles, near the mouth of the Rhone. Song, they said, was fit for the tavern, but not for the worship of God. God is to be worshipped with the affections of the heart and cannot be moved by vocal notes or wood by musical modulations.10251025    Pet. Ven., pp. 765, 847 sq.

The doctrine of transubstantiation was distinctly renounced, and perhaps the Lord’s Supper, on the ground that Christ gave up his body on the night of the betrayal once for all.10261026    Peter of Cluny’s meaning is not clear at this point, pp. 722, 765, 787.ing monks to take wives.

St. Bernard and Peter the Venerable,10271027    Bernard, Migne, 182. 434; Peter, pp. 729, 761 sq.ndred years Europe had had no Christian not baptized in infancy, and hence according to the sectaries had no Christians at all. If it had no Christians, then it had no Church; if no Church, then no Christ. And if this were the case, then all our fathers perished; for, being baptized in infancy, they were not baptized at all. Peter and Henry laid chief stress upon the four Gospels, but it does not appear that they set aside any part of the Scriptures.10281028    Döllinger, I. 83, makes the charge that they renounced the Old Testament. But Peter of Cluny does not say so and, had it been so, he certainly would have emphasized that heresy.

The synod of Toulouse, 1119, in condemning as heretics those who rejected the Lord’s Supper, infant baptism, and priestly ordination, condemned the Petrobrusians, though Peter de Bruys is not mentioned by name. Those who hung upon the preaching of Peter de Bruys and Henry of Lausanne were soon lost among the Cathari and other sects.10291029    Döllinger, I. 75 sqq., makes an elaborate attempt to prove that Peter and Henry were Cathari, but the differences in their teachings and practices seem to make this impossible. So Newman (Papers of Am. Soc. of Ch. Hist., IV. 184-189), Hauck, and Walter, p. 130. Peter and Henry are nowhere called Manichaeans or dualists by Peter the Venerable and Bernard, who would scarcely have omitted this charge had there been just ground for it. They commended marriage; the Cathari rejected it. They insisted upon adult baptism; the Cathari repudiated all baptism. None of the rites peculiar to the Cathari were associated with Peter and Henry., the people without priests, and Christians without Christ. The sanctuary of the Lord was no longer regarded as sacred or the sacraments as holy. The festival days were deprived of their solemnities. The children were debarred from life by the denial of baptism, and souls were hurried to the last tribunal, unreconciled by penance and unfortified by the communion.



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