HISTORY of the CHRISTIAN CHURCH*
THE PAPACY FROM THE DEATH OF GREGORY VII. TO THE CONCORDAT OF WORMS. a.d. 1085–1122.
§ 19. Victor III. and Urban II. 1086–1099.
Compare the chapter on the Crusades.
At the death of Gregory, his imperial enemy was victorious in Germany, and had recovered part of Saxony; Lombardy remained loyal to the empire; Matilda was prostrated by grief and sickness; the anti-pope Wibert (Clement III., 1080–1100) continued to occupy a part of Rome (the Lateran palace and the castle of St. Angelo); Roger, the new duke of the Normans, spent his whole force in securing for himself the sole rule over Calabria and Apulia against his brother Bohemund. There was a papal interregnum of twelve months.
At last the excellent Abbot Desiderius of Monte Cassino, who had raised that convent to the height of its prosperity, was elected to succeed his friend Gregory, May 24, 1086. He accepted after long delay, but ruled only eighteen months as Victor III. He loved monastic solitude, and died Sept. 16, 1087.
He was followed by Otto (Odo), cardinal-bishop of Ostia, a Frenchman, formerly prior of Cluny, and one of the intimate counsellors of Hildebrand. He assumed the name Urban II., and ruled from March 12, 1088, to July 29, 1099. He followed in the steps of Gregory, but with more caution and adaptation to circumstances. He spent his pontificate mostly outside of Rome, but with increasing moral influence. He identified himself with the rising enthusiasm for the holy war of the Cross against the Crescent. This was an immense gain for the papacy, which reaped all the credit and benefit of that extraordinary movement.
He took a noble stand in favor of the sanctity of marriage against the licentious King Philip I. of France, who cast away his legitimate wife, Bertha, 1092, and held adulterous intercourse with Bertrada of Montfort, the runaway wife of the rude Count Fulco of Anjou. This public scandal led to several synods. The king was excommunicated by a synod at Autun in Burgundy, Oct. 16, 1094, and by the Synod of Clermont in 1095. He afterwards dismissed Bertrada, and was absolved by the pope.
Urban continued the war with Henry IV. without scruple as to the means. He encouraged the rebellion of his eldest son, Conrad, a weak and amiable man, who fled for protection to the Countess Matilda, was crowned king of Italy at Monza, and paid the pope the homage of holding his stirrup (the officium stratoris) at Cremona (1095). Urban, who had been consecrated pope outside of Rome, was able, 1088, with the aid of the Normans, to enter the city and possess himself of all its parts except the castle of St. Angelo, which remained in the hands of the followers of Wibert. Wibert had been in possession of St. Peter’s, which he held as a fortress against Victor III. The streets of the papal city resounded with the war-cries of the two papal armies, while pope and anti-pope anathematized one another. Urban died at Florence in 1101.
The pope arranged an unnatural matrimonial alliance between the widowed countess and the young Guelph of Bavaria, whose father was the most powerful of the emperor’s enemies in Germany. It was a purely political match, which made neither party happy, and ended in a divorce (1095). But it gave the papal party a political organization, and opened the long-continued war between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, which distracted every city in Italy, and is said to have caused seventy-two hundred revolutions and more than seven hundred atrocious murders in that country.93 Every Italian was born to an inheritance of hatred and revenge, and could not help sharing in the conflict of factions headed by petty tyrants. The Guelphs defended the pope against the emperor, and also the democracy against the aristocracy in the city government. They were strong in pulling down, but were unable to create a new State. The Ghibellines maintained the divine origin and independent authority of the State in all things temporal against the encroachments of the papacy. The party strife continued in Italy long after the German emperor had lost his power. Dante was at first a Guelph, but in mature life joined the Ghibellines and became the most formidable opponent of Pope Boniface VIII.
Urban was able to hold a synod at Piacenza in Lombardy, where Henry IV. had his chief support, during Lent, 1095. It was attended by four thousand priests and monks and over thirty thousand laymen, and the meeting had to be held in the open field. The pope permitted Praxedis (Adelheid), the second wife of Henry IV., to recite the filthy details of acts of impurity to which she had been subjected by her husband, endorsed her shameless story, absolved her from all uncleanness, and remitted every penitential observance, "because she had not blushed to make a public and voluntary confession of her involuntary transgression."94 After thus sealing the damnation of Henry, the synod renewed the laws against simony and Nicolaitism. Wibert, the anti-pope, was put under anathema, and his consecrations were declared invalid. The Catholic faith in the true and essential presence of the body and blood of Christ in the eucharist was asserted against the heresy of Berengar.
More important was the Synod of Clermont in France, Nov. 18–28, 1095, which inaugurated the first crusade. Here Urban preached the most effective sermon on record, and reached the height of his influence.
He passed in triumphal procession, surrounded by princes and prelates, through France and Italy. He exhorted the people everywhere to repent of their sins and to prove the sincerity of their conversion by killing as many enemies of the cross as they could reach with their swords. When he reached Rome the anti-pope had been driven away by the Crusaders. He was enabled to celebrate the Christmas festival of 1096 with unusual magnificence, and held two synods in the Lateran, January, 1097, and April, 1099. He died, July 29, 1099, a fortnight after the capture of Jerusalem (July 15) by the Crusaders.
§ 20. Pascal II. and Henry V. 1099–1118.
The letters of Paschalis II. in Migne, 163.—W. Schum: Die Politik Papst Paschalis II. gegen Kaiser Heinrich V. Erfurt, 1877. —- G. Peiser: Der deutsche Investiturstreit unter Heinrich V. bis 1111. Berlin, 1883.—Gregorovius Iv., Hauck Iii., Pflugk-Harttung: Die Bullen der Päpste. Gotha, 1901, pp. 234–263.—Mirbt, art. Paschalis II in Herzog, XIV. 717–725, and the literature there given.
Pascal II., a monk of Cluny and disciple of Hildebrand, but less firm and consistent, was elected in July, 1099, and reigned till 1118. Clement III., the anti-pope, died in September, 1100, weary of the world, and left a reputation of integrity, gentleness, and dignity. The imperialist clergy of Rome elected another anti-pope, Sylvester IV., who soon disappeared noiselessly from the stage.
Pascal gained a complete victory over Henry IV. by supporting the wicked rebellion of his second son, Henry V., the last of the Salic or Franconian line of emperors, 1104–1126.
The unfortunate father died under the anathema in misery at Liège (Lüttich), Aug. 7, 1106. The people of the city which had remained faithful to him, lamented his death; but the papal agents commanded the bishop of Liège to remove his body from consecrated ground to an island in the Maas. Henry V. had not lost all feeling for his father, and complied with his dying request for burial in the imperial sepulchre at Spires. The clergy and the citizens accompanied the funeral procession to the cathedral of St. Mary, which the departed sovereign had himself built and richly endowed. He was buried with all honors. But when Bishop Gebhard, one of his fiercest persecutors, who was absent at the time, heard of it, he caused the body to be forthwith exhumed and removed, and interdicted all services in the church till it should be purified of all pollution. The people, however, could not be deterred from frequent visits to the unconsecrated chapel where the dishonored remains of their monarch and patron were deposited. At last the pope dissolved the ban, on the assurance of Henry V. that his father had professed sincere repentance, and his body was again deposited in the cathedral, Aug. 7, 1111. By his moral defects and his humiliation at Canossa, Henry IV. had promoted the power of the papal hierarchy, and yet, by his continued opposition after that act, he had prevented its complete triumph. Soon after his death an anonymous writer gave eloquent and touching expression to his grief over the imperial lord whom he calls his hope and comfort, the pride of Rome, the ornament of the empire, the lamp of the world, a benefactor of widows and orphans, and a father of the poor.95
Pascal had to suffer for his unscrupulous policy. When Henry V. came into full possession of his power, he demanded the right of investiture over all the churches of the empire, and coronation at Rome. The pope was imprisoned and so hard pressed by Henry, that he resolved to buy the spiritual freedom of the Church by a sacrifice of its temporal possessions (except the patrimony of Peter). A compact to this effect between him and the emperor was signed provisionally, April, 1111. Henry was crowned emperor of the Romans in St. Peter’s. But after his return to Germany, a Lateran synod rejected the compact, March, 1112. The pope represented to the synod that, while in the custody of the emperor, with many bishops and cardinals, he had conceded to him the right of investiture to avoid greater evils, and had promised him immunity from excommunication. He confessed that the concession was wrong, and left it with the synod to improve the situation. He made in the sixth session (March 23) a solemn profession of the Catholic faith in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, the Canons of the Apostles, the four Oecumenical Synods of Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, and the decrees of Gregory VII. and Urban II. against lay-investiture and all other crimes which they had condemned. Then the synod, while the pope kept silent, resolved to annul the treaty which he had been forced to make with King Henry. All exclaimed, "Amen, Amen, fiat, fiat." Twelve archbishops, a hundred and fourteen bishops, fifteen cardinal-priests, and eight cardinal-deacons signed the decree.
The zealous Gregorians wished to go further and to declare lay-investiture a heresy (which would imply that Pope Pascal was a heretic). A French Synod of Vienne, Sept. 16, 1112, passed three decrees: 1) Investiture by a layman is a heresy; 2) the enforced compact of Pascal with Henry is null and void; 3) King Henry, who came to Rome under the pretext of peace, and betrayed the pope with a Judas-kiss, is cut off from holy Church until he gives complete satisfaction. The decisions were submitted to the pope, who approved them, October 20 of the same year, to avert a schism. Other provincial synods of France, held by papal legates, launched anathemas against the "tyrant of Germany."
But Henry defied the pope, who had pledged himself never to excommunicate him on account of investiture. After the death of Countess Matilda, July 24, 1115, he hastened for a third time to Italy, and violently seized the rich possessions which she had bequeathed to the chair of St. Peter. Pascal fled to Benevento, and called the Normans to his aid, as Gregory VII. had done. Henry celebrated the Easter festival of 1117 in Rome with great pomp, caused the empress to be crowned, showed himself to the people in his imperial purple, and amused them with shows and processions; but in the summer he returned to Germany, after fruitless negotiations with the pope. He lived to conclude the Concordat of Worms. He was an energetic, but hard, despotic, and unpopular ruler.
Pascal died, Jan. 21, 1118, in the castle of St. Angelo, and was buried in the church of St. John in Lateran. He barely escaped the charge of heresy and schism. He privately condemned, and yet officially supported, lay-investiture, and strove to satisfy both his own conscience and his official duty to the papacy. The extreme party charged him with the sin of Peter, and exhorted him to repent; milder judges, like Ivo of Chartres and Hildebert of Le Mans, while defending the Hildebrandian principle of the freedom of the Church, excused him on the ground that he had yielded for a moment in the hope of better times and from the praiseworthy desire to save the imprisoned cardinals and to avoid bloodshed; and they referred to the example of Paul, who circumcised Timothy, and complied with the wish of James in Jerusalem to please the Jewish Christians.
§ 21. The Concordat of Worms. 1122.
Ekkehardus Uraugiensis: Chronica (best ed. by Waiz in Mon. Germ. Script., VI. 260).—Ul. Robert: Étude sur les actes du pape Calixte II. Paris, 1874.—E. Bernheim: Zur Geschichte des Wormser Concordats. Göttingen, 1878.—M. Maurer: Papst Calixt II. München, 1886.—Giesebrecht, III. 931–959.—Ranke, VIII. 111–126.—Hefele-Knöpfler, V. 311–384; Bullaire et histoire de Calixte II. Paris, 1891.—D. Schafer: Zur Beurtheilung des Wormser Konkordats. Berlin, 1905.
The Gregorian party elected Gelasius a cardinal-deacon, far advanced in age. His short reign of a year and four days was a series of pitiable misfortunes. He had scarcely been elected when he was grossly insulted by a mob led by Cencius Frangipani and cast into a dungeon. Freed by the fickle Romans, he was thrown into a panic by the sudden appearance of Henry V. at the gates, and fled the city, attempting to escape by sea. The Normans came to his rescue and he was led back to Rome, where he found St. Peter’s in the hands of the anti-pope. A wild riot again forced him to flee and when he was found he was sitting in a field near St. Paul’s, with no companions but some women as his comforters. He then escaped to Pisa and by way of Genoa to France, where he died at Cluny, 1119. The imperialist party had elected an anti-pope, Gregory VIII., who was consecrated at Rome in the presence of Henry V., and ruled till 1121, but was taken captive by the Normans, mounted on a camel, paraded before Calixtus amid the insults and mockeries of the Roman mob, covered with dust and filth, and consigned to a dungeon. He died in an obscure monastery, in 1125, "still persevering in his rebellion." Such was the state of society in Rome.
Calixtus II., the successor of Gelasius, 1119–1124, was elected at Cluny and consecrated at Vienne. He began his rule by renewing the sentence of excommunication against Henry; and in him the emperor found his match. After holding the Synod of Rheims, which ratified the prohibition of lay investiture, he reached Rome, 1120. Both parties, emperor and pope, were weary of the long struggle of fifty years, which had, like the Thirty Years’ War five centuries later, kept Central Europe in a state of turmoil and war. At the Diet of Würzburg, 1121, the men of peace were in the majority and demanded a cessation of the conflict and the calling of a council.
Calixtus found it best to comply, however reluctantly, with the resolution of the German Diet, and instructed his legates to convoke a general council of all the bishops of France and Germany at Mainz for the purpose of restoring concord between the holy see and the empire. The assembly adjourned from Mainz to Worms, the city which became afterwards so famous for the protest of Luther. An immense multitude crowded to the place to witness the restoration of peace. The sessions lasted more than a week, and closed with a solemn mass and the Te Deum by the cardinal-bishop of Ostia, who gave the kiss of peace to the emperor.
The Concordat of Worms was signed, Sept. 23, 1122. It was a compromise between the contending parties. It is the first of the many concordats which the popes have since that time concluded with various sovereigns and governments, and in which they usually make some concession to the civil power. If they cannot carry out their principle, they agree to a modus vivendi.
The pope gained the chief point, namely, the right of investiture by delivery of the ring and crosier (the symbols of the spiritual power) in all the churches of the empire, and also the restoration of the properties and temporalities of the blessed Peter which had passed out of the possession of the holy see during the late civil wars.
On the other hand, the pope granted to the emperor that the elections to all bishoprics and abbeys of the empire should be made in the emperor’s presence, without simony or any kind of corruption; that in cases of dispute the emperor should be at liberty to decide in favor of the person who, in his judgment, had the best claim; and that the candidate thus elected should receive from the emperor the temporalities of his see or abbey by the delivery of a rod or sceptre (the symbol of the temporal power), but without bargain or valuable consideration of any kind, and ever after render unto the sovereign all such duties and services as by law he was bound to render. But the temporalities belonging to the Roman see were exempt from these stipulations.
There are some ambiguities and uncertainties in this treaty which opened the way for future contention. The emperor surrenders the right of investiture (with ring and crosier), and yet takes it back again in a milder form (with the sceptre). The question whether consecration is to precede or to follow investiture was left undecided, except outside of Germany, i.e. in Italy and Burgundy, where investiture with the regalia by the sceptre was to take place within six months after the consecration. Nothing is said about heirs and successors. Hence the concordat might be understood simply as a treaty between Calixtus and Henry, a temporary expedient, an armistice after half a century of discord between Church and State. After their deaths both the papal tiara and the imperial crown became again apples of discord.
The Concordat of Worms was confirmed by the Ninth Oecumenical Synod (according to the Roman counting), or First Oecumenical Council of the West, held in the Lateran from March 18 to April 6, 1123. It is also called the First Lateran Council. Over three hundred bishops and abbots were present, or, according to other reports, five hundred or even nine hundred and ninety-seven. The documents of Worms were read, approved by all, and deposited in the archives of the Roman Church.
The text of the Concordatum Wormatiense or Pactum Calixtinum is preserved in the Vatican, and in the Chronicle of Ekkehard (abbot of Aura, near Kissingen, from 1108 to 1125). It has been repeatedly published by Baronius, Annales; Goldast, Constitutiones Imperiales; Leibnitz, Corpus juris diplomaticum; in Gieseler’s Church History; in German translation, by Hefele-Knöpfler, Conciliengesch. V. 373; and also by Pertz, in the Monumenta Germaniae Legum, II. 75 sq. (who gives the various readings from seven MSS. of Ekkehard’s Chronica), and Mirbt, Quellen, 115, 116. It is as follows:—
"In nomine sanctae et individuae Trinitatis.
"Ego Heinricus Dei gratia Romanorum Imperator Augustus pro amore Dei et s. Romanae Ecclesiae et domini P. Calixti, et pro remedio animae meae, dimitto Deo et ss. ejus Apostolis Petro et Paulo, sanctaeque catholicae Ecclesiae omnem investituram per annulum et baculum, et concedo, in omnibus Ecclesiis canonicam fieri electionem et liberam consecrationem. Possessiones et regalia b. Petri, quae a principio hujus discordiae usque ad hodiernam diem, sive patris mei tempore, sive etiam meo, ablata sunt, quae habeo, s. Romanae Ecclesiae restituo, quae autem non habeo, ut, restituantur, fideliter juvabo. Possessiones etiam omnium Ecclesiarum aliarum, et Principum, et aliorum tam clericorum quam laicorum, quae in guerra ista amissae sunt, consilio Principum, vel justitia, quas habeo, reddam, quas non habeo, ut reddantur, fideliter juvabo. Et do veram pacem domino Papae Calixto, sanctaeque Romanae Ecclesiae, et omnibus, qui in parte ipsius sunt vel fuerunt. Et in quibus s. Romana Ecclesia mihi auxilium postulaverit, fideliter juvabo; et de quibus mihi fecerit querimoniam, debitam sibi faciam justitiam.
"Ego Calixtus Episcopus, servus servorum Dei, tibi dilecto filio Heinrico, Dei gratia Romanorum Imperatori Augusto, concedo, electiones Episcoporum et Abbatum Teutonici regni, qui ad regnum pertinent, in praesentia tua fieri absque simonia et aliqua violentia; ut si qua inter partes discordia emerserit, Metropolitani et Comprovincialum consilio vel judicio, saniori parti assensum et auxilium praebeas. Electus autem regalia per sceptrum a te recipiat, et quae ex his jure tibi debet, faciat. Ex aliis vero partibus Imperii consecratus infra sex menses regalia per sceptrum a te recipiat, et quae ex his jure tibi debet, faciat, exceptis omnibus, quae ad Romanam Ecclesiam pertinere noscuntur. De quibus vero querimoniam mihi feceris, secundum officii mei debitum auxilium tibi praestabo. Do tibi veram pacem et omnibus, qui in parte tua sunt, aut fuerunt tempore hujus discordiae. Data anno dominicae Incarnationis MCXXII. IX Kal. Octobr."
Then follow the signatures.
§ 22. The Conflict of the Hierarchy in England. William the Conqueror and Lanfranc.
The Domesday or Doomesday Book (Liber judicii; Book of judgment; Liber de Wintonia, because deposited in the cathedral at Winchester, now in the Charter House at Westminster, published in facsimile, 1783 and 1861).
It was prepared between 1080 and 1086 by the "justiciaries" of William the Conqueror for the purpose of ascertaining the taxable wealth and military strength of the conquered country and securing a full and fair assessment. It contains, among other things, a list of the bishops, churches, religious houses, great men, etc. See Freeman’s Norman Conquest, V. 1–52 and 733–740. He says (Preface, viii.): "The stores of knowledge in Domesday are boundless" (for secular history, rather than church history).—The Gesta Wilhelmi by William of Poitiers, a chaplain and violent partisan of the Conqueror. Also the chronicles of William of Jumièges, Ordericus Vitalis, in Migne, 188, Eng. Trans. 4 vols. Bohn’s Libr.
Lanfranc (thirty-fourth archbishop of Canterbury, 1005–1089): Vita and (55) Epistolae, in his Opera, edited by D’Achery (Paris, 1648), Giles (Oxford, 1844, in 2 vols.), and Migne, 150.—H. Böhmer , Die Fälschungen Lanfranks von Cant. Leipzig, 1902.
*Eadmer (monk of Canterbury, pupil and biographer of Anselm): Vita Sancti Anselmi, and Historia Novorum, both in Anselm’s Opera (ed. Migne, 158, 159, and in Rolls Series, 1884).—The biographies of Anselm by Frank (Tübingen, 1842), Hasse (Leipzig, 1843, vol. I. 235–455), Remusat (Paris, 1853; German translation by Wurzbach, 1854), Dean Church (London, 1875), Rule (London, 1883), Hook (in 2d vol. of Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury, London, 1861–1874), Rigg, 1896, Welch, 1901.
*William of Malmesbury (b.a. 1096, d. 1143, son of a Norman father and Saxon mother, monk and librarian in the abbey of Malmesbury): De Gestis Regum Anglorum (a history of England from the Anglo-Saxon Conquest to the end of the reign of Henry I., 1129); Historiae Novellae (a continuation till 1151); De Gestis Pontificum Anglorum (history of the English Church till 1123). Edited by Savile, in Rerum Anglicarum Scriptores, London, 1596; best ed. in Rolls Series, English translation by John Sharpe, edited by Giles, in Bohn’s "Antiquarian Library," London, 1847.
The Works of Henry of Huntingdon, William of Newburgh, Gervaise of Canterbury, Ralph of Coggeshall, Richard of Hoveden, Matthew Paris, etc., as ed. in the Rerum Britannicarum medii aevi scriptores, called the Rolls Series, London, 1858 sqq. These works ed. by Stubbs, Luard, and other competent Eng. scholars are indispensable.
J. N. Aug. Thierry (1795–1856): Histoire de la conquête de l’Angleterre par les Normands, de ses causes et de ses suites en Angleterre, en Écosse, et en Irlande et sur le continent. 5e éd. entièrement revue et augmentée. Paris, 1839, 4 vols. The first edition was published, 1825, in 3 vols., a 6th ed. in 1843, etc. English translation by Hazlitt, 1847.
Edw. A. Freeman (Professor of History in Oxford): History of the Norman Conquest. Oxford, 1867–1876 (vols. II., III., IV., and V. See Index, vol. VI.). And his Reign of William Rufus and the Accession of Henry the First. Oxford, 1882, 2 vols. (see Index, sub Anselm). An exhaustive treatment of that period by a master in historic research and erudition, with model indexes.
Bishop Stubbs furnishes authentic information in his Constitutional History of England, 6th ed. 3 vols. 1897; Select Charters and Other Illustrations of English Constitutional History to the Reign of Edward I. (1870); Memorials of St. Dunstan (1874).
H. Gee and W. J. Hardy: Documents illustrative of Eng. Ch. Hist., London, 1896.
W. R. W. Stephens: The Eng. Ch. 1066–1272. London, 1891.
Milman (bk. VIII. ch. VIII.) briefly touches upon this important chapter of the Church history of England. Hardwick (Church History of the Middle Ages) ignores it. Robertson notices the principal facts. Dean Hook gives the Lives of Lanfranc and Anselm (II. 73–168 and 169–276).
The conflict between the pope and the emperor for supremacy was repeated, on a smaller scale, in England, between the archbishop of Canterbury and the king, and was settled for a season in favor of the hierarchy, several years before the Concordat of Worms. The struggle for the freedom of the Church was indirectly also a struggle for the freedom of the State and the people from the tyranny of the crown. Priestcraft prevailed over kingcraft, then aristocracy over absolute monarchy in the Magna Charta, and at last the people over both.
The Anglo-Saxon kings and nobles enriched the Church of England, their alma mater, by liberal grants of real estate amounting to about one-third of the land, and thus conferred upon it great political influence. The bishops ranked with the nobles, and the archbishops with princes, next to the king. The archbishop of Canterbury was usually intrusted with the regency during the absence of the sovereign on the Continent.
But for this very reason the British sovereigns of the different dynasties tried to keep the Church in a state of dependence and subserviency, by the election of bishops and the exercise of the right of investiture. They filled the vacant bishoprics with their chaplains, so that the court became a nursery of prelates, and they occasionally arrogated to themselves such titles as "Shepherd of Shepherds," and even "Vicar of Christ." In one word, they aspired to be popes of England long before Henry VIII. blasphemously called himself, "Supreme Head of the Church of England."
Under the later kings of the Saxon line the Church had degenerated, and was as much in need of reform as the churches on the Continent. The ascetic reforms of Dunstan took no deep root and soon passed away. Edward the Confessor (1042–1066) was a monastic saint, but a stranger and shadow in England, with his heart in Normandy, the home of his youth. The old Saxon literature was forgotten, and the clergy was sunk in ignorance.96 No ecclesiastical synod broke the slumber. The priests were married or lived in concubinage. Simony was freely exercised.
The Norman Conquest aroused England to new life and activity. It marks the greatest change in English history since the Anglo-Saxon conquest. It left its impress upon the language, literature, architecture, laws and institutions of the country, without, however, breaking the continuity. The Normans, though a foreign, were yet a kindred race, of Teutonic stock, Romanized and Gallicanized in France. From savage pirates they had been changed into semi-civillized Christians, without losing their bravery and love of adventure, which they showed in the crusades and the conquest of England. They engrafted the French language and manners upon the Anglo-Saxon trunk, and superinduced an aristocratic element on the democratic base. It took a long time for the two nationalities and languages to melt into one.
The amalgamation was an enrichment. The happy combination of Saxon strength and endurance with Norman enterprise and vivacity, in connection with the insular position and the capacity for self-government fostered thereby, prepared the English race for the dominion of the seas and the founding of successful colonies in all continents.97
The Norman kings were as jealous of their rights and as much opposed to papal superiority as the German emperors. Their instincts and interests were caesaropapistic or Erastian. But the Church kept them in check. The Hildebrandian ideas of reform were advocated and carried out in part by two of the most eminent scholars and monks of the age, Lanfranc (1005–1089) and Anselm (1033–1109), who followed each other in the see of Canterbury. They were both of Italian birth,—one from the Lombard city of Pavia, the other from Aosta,—and successively abbots and teachers of the famous convent of Bee in the diocese of Rouen.
William I. of Normandy, surnamed "the Conqueror," the natural son of, "Robert the Devil" and the daughter of a tanner, and the first king of the Norman dynasty (1066–1087), enforced his pretension to the English throne under the consecrated banner of Pope Alexander II. by the defeat of Harold in the battle on the hill of Senlac, near Hastings, Oct. 14, 1066. Five years afterwards he made Lanfranc archbishop of Canterbury. He had formerly banished him from Normandy for opposing his marriage with Matilda of Flanders, as being within the forbidden degrees. He overtook the abbot as he was leaving the convent on a lame horse, and hurried him on. The abbot said, "Give me a better horse, and I shall go faster." This cool request turned the duke’s wrath into laughter and good-will. He was reconciled, and employed him to obtain the pope’s sanction of the marriage, and the removal of the interdict from his territories.
Lanfranc was a moderate Hildebrandian. He had been the chief promoter of the doctrine of transubstantiation in the Berengarian controversy; while Hildebrand protected Berengar as long as he could.98 He was zealous for clerical celibacy, substituted monks for secular canons in cathedrals, and prohibited, through the Council of Winchester in 1076, the ordination of married priests, but allowed the rural clergy to retain their wives. He did not fully sustain the pope’s claim to temporal authority, and disobeyed the frequent summons to appear at Rome. He lived, upon the whole, on good terms with the king, although he could not effect anything against his will. He aided him in his attempt to Normanize the English Church. He was intrusted with the regency when the duke was absent on the Continent. He favored the cause of learning, and rebuilt the cathedral of Canterbury, which had burnt down.
William was a despot in Church and State, and rather grew harder and more reckless of human suffering in his later years. His will was the law of the land. Freeman places him both "among the greatest of men" and "among the worst of men."99 His military genius and statesmanship are undoubted; but he was utterly unscrupulous in the choice of means. He had a strong sense of religion and reverence for the Church, and was liberal to her ministers; he did not, like his son, keep the benefices vacant and rob her revenues; he did not practise simony, and, so far, he fell in with the Hildebrandian reform.100 But he firmly insisted on the right of investiture. He declared that he would not allow a single bishop’s staff to pass out of his hands. He held his own even against Hildebrand. He felt that he owed his crown only to God and to his own sword. He was willing to pay Peter’s pence to the pope as alms, but not as tribute, and refused to swear allegiance to Gregory VII.
He made full use of the right of a victor. He subjected the estates of the Church to the same feudal obligations as other lands. He plundered religious houses. He deposed Archbishop Stigand and other Saxon bishops to make room for Norman favorites, who did not even understand the language of the people. These changes were not begun till 1070, when Stigand was tried before the papal legates who had placed the crown on William’s head. The main charges were simony and that he had received the pall from the usurping pope, Benedict X. William left only one Englishman, the simple-minded Wulfstan of Worcester, in possession of his see. He gradually extended the same system to abbacies and lower dignities. He allowed no synod to convene and legislate without his previous permission and subsequent confirmation of its decrees, no pope to be acknowledged in England without his will, no papal letters to be received and published without his consent. No ecclesiastic was to leave the kingdom without his permission, and bishops were forbidden to excommunicate a noble for adultery or any capital crime without the previous assent of the king. In these ways the power of the clergy was limited, and a check put upon the supremacy of Rome over the English Church. Lanfranc seems to have fully sympathized with these measures. For after the death of Alexander II., who had been his pupil at Bec, he seems to have treated the popes, especially Gregory VII., coolly. Gregory wrote him several letters threatening him with suspension and for his absence from the synods which were convening in Rome.101
On the other hand, the law was passed in William’s reign remanding ecclesiastical suits to separate tribunals,102 a law which afterwards gave occasion for much contention. The bishops’ court henceforth used the canon law instead of the common English law used in the shire courts. Another important movement in William’s reign, sanctioned by synodal authority,103 was the removal of episcopal seats to larger towns, the Church conforming itself to the changes of geography. Chichester took the place of Selsey, Salisbury of Sherborne, Chester of Lichfield, Lincoln of Dorchester, 1085, Bath of Wells, 1088, and Norwich of Thetford, 1094, which had taken the place of Elmham, 1078. Osmund, bishop of Salisbury, nephew of the Conqueror, prepared the liturgical service called the Sarum use, which was adopted in other dioceses than his own, and later became one of the chief sources of the Book of Common Prayer.
§ 23. William Rufus and Anselm.
William II., commonly called William Rufus or the Red (for his red hair), the third son and first successor of the Conqueror, ruled from 1087 to 1100. He bought Normandy from his brother Robert to enable him to make a crusade. This is the only good thing he did, besides appointing Anselm primate of England. He inherited all the vices and none of the virtues of his father. He despised and hated the clergy. It was said of him that, "he feared God but little, and man not at all." He was not a sceptic or infidel, as some represent him, but profane and blasphemous. He believed in God, like the demons, but did not tremble. He defied the Almighty. When he recovered from a severe sickness, he said: "God shall never see me a good man; I have suffered too much at his hands." He doubted his justice, and mocked at the ordeals. He declared publicly that neither St. Peter nor any other saint had any influence with God, and that he would not ask them for aid. He used to swear "by the holy face of Lucca."104 He was not married, but indulged in gross and shameless debaucheries. The people said of him that he rose a worse man every morning, and lay down a worse man every evening.
He had promised Lanfranc at his coronation to exercise justice and mercy and to protect the freedom of the Church, but soon forgot his vow, and began systematically to plunder the Church and to oppress the clergy. He robbed the bishoprics and abbeys of their income by leaving them vacant or selling them to the highest bidders. Within four years he changed thirty cemeteries into royal parks to satisfy his passion for bunting, which at last cost him his life. He used to say: "The bread of Christ is rich; the kings have given to the Church one-half of its income: why should I not try to win it back?"
He kept the see of Canterbury vacant for nearly four years (1089–1093). At last he yielded, under the influence of a severe sickness, to the pressure of the better class of bishops and noblemen, and elected Anselm, who was then in England, and well known as a profound theologian and saintly character. A greater contrast can scarcely be imagined. While William Rufus delighted in witnessing the tortures of innocent men and animals, Anselm was singularly tenderhearted: he saved the life of a hare which was chased by the hunters and had sought protection under his horse; he saw a worthy object for prayer in the sufferings of a bird tortured by a thoughtless child.105 Yet, with all his gentleness, he could be firm and unyielding in the defence of truth and righteousness.
The primacy was forced upon Anselm in spite of his remonstrance. He foresaw a hard struggle. He compared himself to an old and feeble sheep, and the king to a young, wild bull. Thus yoked, he was to draw the plough of the Church of England, with the prospect of being torn to pieces by the ferocity of the bull.106 He was received with intense enthusiasm at Canterbury by the clergy, the monks, and the people, and was consecrated on the second Sunday of Advent, 1093. He began at once to restore discipline according to the principles of Hildebrand, though with more moderation and gentleness.
A short time elapsed before the relations between the king and the prelate became strained. Anselm supported Urban II.; William leaned to the anti-pope Clement III. The question of investiture with the pallium at once became a matter of dispute. The king at first insisted upon Anselm’s receiving it from Clement and then claimed the right to confer it himself. Anselm refused to yield and received it, 1095, from Urban’s legate, who brought the sacred vestment to England in a silver casket. The archbishop gave further offence to the king by the mean way, as was said, in which he performed his feudal obligations.107 William decided to try him in his court. To this indignity Anselm would, of course, not submit. It was the old question whether an English ecclesiastic owed primary allegiance to the pope or to the crown.108 The archbishop secured the king’s reluctant permission, 1097, to go to Rome. But William’s petty spirit pursued the departing prelate by ordering Anselm’s baggage searched at Dover. He seized the revenues of Canterbury, and Anselm’s absence was equivalent to exile. Eadmer reports a remarkable scene before Anselm’s departure.109 At his last interview with William he refused to leave the king’s presence until he had given him his blessing. "As a spiritual father to his son, as Archbishop of Canterbury to the king of England," he said, "I would fain before I go give you God’s blessing." To these words the king made reply that he did not decline the priestly blessing. It was the last time they met.
Anselm was most honorably received by the pope, who threatened the king with excommunication, and pronounced an anathema on all laymen who exercised the right of investiture and on all clergymen who submitted to lay-investiture.110
The Red King was shot dead by an arrow,—nobody knows whether by a hunter or by an assassin, Aug. 2, 1100, while hunting in the New Forest. "Cut off without shrift, without repentance, he found a tomb in the Old Minster of Winchester; but the voice of clergy and people, like the voice of one man, pronounced, by a common impulse, the sentence which Rome had feared to pronounce. He received the more unique brand of popular excommunication. No bell was tolled, no prayer was said, no alms were given for the soul of the one baptized and anointed ruler, whose eternal damnation was taken for granted by all men as a thing about which there could be no doubt."111
§ 24. Anselm and Henry I.
At the death of the Red King, one archbishopric, four bishoprics, and eleven abbeys were without pastors. Henry I., his younger brother, surnamed Beauclerc, ascended the throne (1100–1135). He connected the Norman blood with the imperial house of Germany by the marriage of his daughter Matilda to Henry V. After the emperor’s death, Matilda was privately married to Geoffrey Plantagenet, count of Anjou (1128), and became the mother of Henry II., the founder of the Plantagenet dynasty.
King Henry I. is favorably known by his strict administration of justice. He reconciled the clergy by recalling Anselm from exile, but soon renewed the investiture controversy. He instituted bishops and abbots, and summoned Anselm to consecrate them, which he steadfastly refused to do. He sent him into a second exile (1103–1106).112 The queen, Maud the Good, who had an extraordinary veneration for the archbishop, strove to mediate between him and her husband, and urged Anselm to return, even at the sacrifice of a little earthly power, reminding him that Paul circumcised Timothy, and went to the temple to conciliate the Jewish brethren.
Pascal II. excommunicated the bishops who had accepted investiture from Henry. But the king was not inclined to maintain a hostile attitude to Anselm. They had an interview in Normandy and appealed to the pope, who confirmed the previous investitures of the king on condition of his surrendering the right of investiture in future to the Church. This decision was ratified at Bec, Aug. 26, 1106. The king promised to restore to Anselm the profits of the see during his absence, to abstain from the revenues of vacant bishoprics and abbeys, and to remit all fines to the clergy. He retained the right of sending to vacant sees a congé d’élire, or notice to elect, which carried with it the right of nomination. Anselm now proceeded to consecrate bishops, among them Roger of Salisbury, who was first preferred to Henry’s notice because he "began prayers quickly and closed them speedily."113
Anselm returned to England in triumph, and was received by the queen at the head of the monks and the clergy. At a council held at Westminster in 1107,114 the king formally relinquished the privilege of investiture, while the archbishop promised to tolerate the ceremony of homage (which Urban II. had condemned). The synodical canons against clerical marriage were renewed and made more rigorous (1102, 1107, 1108); but the pope consented for a time that the sons of priests might be admitted to orders, for the remarkable reason, as Eadmer reports, that "almost the greater and the better part of the English clergy" were derived from this class.115
During the remaining years of his life, Anselm enjoyed the friendship and respect of the king, and during the latter’s absence on the Continent in 1108, he was intrusted with the regency and the care of the royal family. He was canonized by the voice of the English people long before the formal canonization by the pope.116
After his death, in April, 1109, the primacy remained vacant till 1114, when it was conferred upon Ralph of Escures, bishop of Rochester, who had administered its affairs during the interval. He is described as a learned, cheerful, affable, good-humored, facetious prelate. He was called "nugax," but his jests and repartees have not been recorded. He and his two Norman successors, William of Corbeuil, 1123–1136. and Theobald, 1139–1161, lived on good terms with the king and his successor, Stephen. Thomas Becket, an English man, resumed, in 1162, the controversy between the mitre and the crown with greater energy, but less wisdom, than Anselm.
* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. The material has been carefully compared and corrected according to the Eerdmans reproduction of the 1907 edition by Charles Scribner's sons, with emendations by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.
93 Guelfi, Welfen, from Welf, Wolf, a family name of the dukes of Bavaria. Ghibellini, Ghibellinen, from Waiblingen, the patrimonial castle of Conrad of Hohenstaufen in Swabia. Comp. Ferrari, Histoire des révolutions d’Italie, ou Guelfes et Ghibellins, Paris, 1858, 4 vols. From the Guelphs descended the house of Brunswick and Hanover, and the royal family of England since George I., 1714.
94 Praxedis or Eupraxia, or (as the Germans called her) Adelheid was a Russian princess, who married Henry in 1089, two years after Bertha’s death. She had preferred the same horrible charges before a synod at Constance in 1094. See Pertz, Tom. VII. 458, XVII. 14; Hefele-Knöpfler, V. 211 sq. and 216; Greenwood, IV. 561.
95 The tract is more eloquent than accurate. It is ascribed by Goldast, Floto, and Gieseler to Bishop Otbert of Lüttich (Liège); by Dr. Jaffé, to an unknown writer in Mainz (see the preface to his German translation, Das Leben Kaiser Heinrich des Vierten, Berlin, 1858); by Druffel and Giesebrecht, to Bishop Erlung of Würzburg, who was chancellor of the emperor from 1103 to 1105. For a good characterization of Henry IV. see Giesebrecht, III. 764-768, and on this biography, pp. 1050 sq.
96 It is said of the later Anglo-Saxon clergy that they were scarcely able to stammer out the forms of divine service, and that any one who knew "grammar" was regarded as a prodigy.
97 On the effects of the Norman Conquest, see the fifth volume of Freeman’s great work. Comp. also Schaff’s essay on the cosmopolitan character and mission of the English language, in his Literature and Poetry, New York, 1890, pp. 1-62.
98 On Lanfranc’s connection with the Berengar controversy, see Schaff, vol. IV. 556 and 567 sq.
99 Norman Conquest, II. 165.
100 Freeman, V. 169: "He was one of the few princes of that age whose hands were wholly clean from the guilt of simony. His ecclesiastical appointments for the most part do him honor; the patron of Lanfranc and Anselm can never be spoken of without respect."
101 Reg. Greg., VI. 30, IX. 20; Migne, 148, 621, 643.
102 Gee and Hardy, 57 sq.
103 The Synod of London, 1075. See Wilkins, I. 363; Gee and Hardy, 54.
104 Per sanctum vultum de Luca. A figure of the crucified Saviour in wood which was said to have been carved by Nicodemus, and was preserved in the cathedral at Lucca.
105 These rare traits of character are mentioned by Eadmer in his Vita Anselmi. Freeman, V. 25.
106 Eadmer (Hist. Nov., in Migne’s edition of Anselm, II. 368): "Indomitum taurum et vetulam ac debilem ovem in aratro conjungere sub uno jugo," etc. Ranke, Weltgesch., VIII. 115, makes here a curious mistake by putting into Anselm’s mouth the saying that England’s plough must be drawn by "two noble and powerful bulls" (von zwei edlen und kräftigen Stieren, dem König und dem Primas).
107 Soon after he was made archbishop, Anselm sent the king £500, a sum far below what the king expected. On another occasion when the king was starting on a campaign against Wales, Anselm sent what the king regarded as a beggarly contingent of ill-trained knights.
108 The matters in dispute were discussed at Rockingham at a meeting of barons and bishops with Anselm at their head. See Freeman,W. Rufus, I. 476 sqq.
109 Hist. Nov., II., Migne’s ed. 169, 402.
110 According to Eadmer, Hist. Nov., Migne’s ed. 159, 414, it was due to Anselm’s intercession that Urban withheld from William Rufus the anathema.
111 Freeman, Norm. Conq., V. 147.
112 While in England, Anselm had celebrated the marriage of Henry to Matilda, or Eadgyth (as her English name was), daughter of the Scotch king Malcolm. Her aunt, a nun at Romsey, had placed the veil upon Eadgyth when she was a child as a protection against violence. There was a difference of opinion as to whether this was to be construed as a vow. Anselm pronounced her free. Ladies at the time of the Norman Conquest had temporarily put on the veil as a protection to their virtue. Lanfranc afterwards declared them free to marry.
113 See Fuller,Ch. Hist. of Britain, I. 340.
114 A previous council had been held at Westminster in 1102. See Freeman, V. 221, 226, and Gee and Hardy, pp. 63 sq.
115 Freeman, V. 223: "The newly devised rigor only led to laxity of a worse kind, which it was intended to stop. But, at any rate, it was now that the rule of celibacy became for the first time the universal law of the English Church. Anselm’s counsel at Westminster [that of 1102] thus marks an era in our ecclesiastical history."
116 The canonization by Alexander III. came to nothing, but was renewed by Alexander VI. Dean Church says that Anselm "suffered the indignity of a canonization at the hands of Borgia."