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to the Church. Therefore there must be no property, to be turned to a family estate; the Church alone should possess anything. There must be no wife or children; or, if affection owned such ties, policy must disown them; if they could not be denied, they should be at any rate dishonored; under a ban of ignominy, they should not stand in the way of that perfect service the Church required.
The struggle shook the local churches to their centre. Many of the clergy preferred to resign their charges rather than forsake wife and child. Let the Pope, said they, find angels instead of men. "The Lord's flock," says a contemporary, "is wretchedly scattered, the shepherds themselves setting on the wolves. The people cruelly use their license to insult the clergy. Wherever they go, they meet outcries, pointing of fingers, and blows. Some flee away, destitute and poor. Some are mutilated of their limbs, some put to death by lingering tortures. The Church's mysteries are spurned, children deprived of baptism, and sinners of confession. The Lord's body is trodden under foot, and the Lord's blood poured out wantonly; while many false and profane teachers vex the Church." Bitter was the struggle, frightful the scandal and cruelty, shocking the corruption and levity, caused by this remorseless policy throughout the entire Middle Age; yet there has been no yielding, to this day. And though the worst immoralities were openly connived at, though wars were fought and fortunes squandered by certain of the Popes themselves, for their own offspring, yet of the innumerable army of the Church's servants, not the humblest pastor, not the loneliest missionary, may cherish one thought of home, or know the dearest human ties. All must be sacrificed to that inexorable vow whose burden has bent down many a galled heart to bitterness and despair.
The next great struggle of Gregory is known as the Controversy of Investitures, that is, the right of temporal princes to invest with sacred orders, a battle, though begun and heroically waged by him, not finally decided till long after he was dead. As his open challenge to all princes and potentates of the earth, he declared the clergy wholly free from feudal obligation, and responsible to the Pope alone. Not a bishop might
be appointed but by him; and at the papal summons the prelate of England or Germany must come to receive his robes of office in Rome. If any should disobey," their blessing should turn to cursing, and their prayers to sin." On the feudal model, St. Peter was regarded as a lord paramount, or suzerain, holding of his own right the kingdoms of the earth in fee. In his name the Pope might depose emperors and kings, and all princes should kiss his feet. Of which doctrine St. Bernard said, "I dread for you neither poison nor sword more than the lust of domination."
A battle as long and a victory as doubtful now awaited Gregory in his conflict with the Empire. Henry IV. of Germany was a mere child six years old, when his powerful fa ther's death left him heir of the Roman Cæsars, and nominal sovereign of all Central Europe. He had grown up through a wayward, indulged, and intemperate boyhood, and was a young man of twenty-three at Gregory's accession. With his imperial succession the Emperor claimed to inherit the imperial right to nominate, or at least confirm, all officers of the Church; and the example set by the sovereign was duly followed by prince, duke, and knight. The violence of Henry in his secular rule had already driven the country to rebellion and civil war. Saxon peasants had torn his favorite castle to the ground; a mob in Cologne had driven its insolent bishop away in terror of his life; and Henry swore (it is said) that he would yet ride his rebellious subjects with boot and spur. Here, if anywhere, was a case for the spiritual power to interfere in the name of God. The Pope sided with the people; summoned the proud Emperor to his judgment-seat at Rome; threatened at his refusal to "cut him off as a rotten limb," and passed on him the terrible ban of excommunication. The double terror of the people's rage and the Church's curse at length broke down the passionate pride of Henry. Humbled and helpless, he crossed the Alps at mid-winter, groping among the bleak precipices and glaciers, the peasants passing him in a rude sledge of hides down those dreadful slopes, and went to supplicate mercy and pardon of Gregory, at the mountain castle of Canossa. "Here," in the words of Gregory's own account, "he came with few attendants, and for three days before the
gate, his royal apparel laid aside, barefoot and clad in wool, and weeping abundantly, he never ceased to implore the aid and consolation of apostolic mercy, until all those present were moved with such pity and sympathy, that, interceding for him with many prayers and tears, they all marvelled at the unwonted harshness of my mind, and some even cried that it was not the dignity of apostolic severity, but the cruelty of tyrannical rage. Overcome at length by the urgency of his entreaty, and by the supplication of all those present, relaxing the bond of anathema, I received him to the favor of communion, and the bosom of holy mother Church."
The blow was struck. For the present, at least, the victory was won. The proudest earthly rival was debased and dethroned before the spiritual might of Rome. A vindictive and obstinate conflict followed. Enraged at his humiliation, and scorned by his proud nobles, Henry became revengeful, fierce, and resolute. He slew in battle the rival Emperor whom Gregory upheld. He swept his rebellious lands with sword and flame, carried his victorious armies to Rome, and was there crowned Emperor by a rival Pope. Gregory himself was only saved from destruction by Norman and Saracen allies, and at the cost of the devastation of half the capital, shown to this
day in the half-mile of desolation that lies between the Lateran gate and the Coliseum; then, driven by the popular resentment, went away to die, defeated and heart-broken, in exile. But the spell of that curse, the shadow of that abasement, never departed from his victorious enemy. Twenty years later, vainly seeking mercy from his own son, the unnatural champion of the Church, vainly soliciting shelter in a monastery, claiming the humblest benefit of clergy as one who "could read and sing," Henry perished in want and misery, leaving his name to point the moral or adorn the tale of the first most momentous victory won by the Church over the powers of the world.
The great Christian enterprise of the Crusades, the league of Catholic Europe for the rescue of the Holy Land, was one of the fond hopes and dreams of Gregory. Military enthusiasm, kindled and kept up by the fervor of religious feeling, should be the most powerful motive of union to disordered
Christendom, the most powerful ally of the despotic hierarchy of Rome. His magnificent vision of a Church majestic and strong among the rude forces of the world, of the nations of Europe knit into one by a passionate and fervid zeal, and subject to the austere dominion of a power direct from God, was destined not to be realized in his lifetime. He died, an old man, defeated, broken down, with the almost despairing words on his lips, "I have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, and therefore I die in exile." But the spirit that animated that aged frame, worn and lean with fasting, bent under the weight of perpetual care, and scarred by a warfare of eleven years, lived after him, and became the soul of that matchless organization. The genius of Hildebrand still guided the counsels and swayed the destinies of Catholic Europe. Within fifteen years after his death, Italy, England, France, and Germany had united in that enthusiastic and brilliant league which defended the liberties of Europe on the plains of Asia. The great Crusade had been fought, and the banner of the Cross floated triumphant above the battlements of Jerusalem. Still the twofold struggle went on against corruption and insubordination in the Church's ranks, and against the powers of the world that disputed its authority.
A century passed away, and Innocent III. made the name of Papal Rome still mightier and more formidable. He occupied and governed Sicily as guardian of the young prince. He pronounced for Otho against Philip as Emperor of Germany, then turned against and excommunicated him, setting up the great Frederick as his rival. He forced Philip of France to receive back his repudiated queen, laid nearly every Catholic realm in turn under interdict, humbled the craven John of England to be Pope's vassal,* and continued the holy war against the proud barons and their Magna Charta. It was in his reign that Europe first felt the full terror of those two great weapons of church power, - Excommunication, which
"He had the effrontery to demand, and King John had the meanness to consent to, a resignation of his crown to the Pope, whereby England was to become forever St. Peter's patrimony; and the dastardly monarch reaccepted his sceptre from the hands of the papal legate, to hold as the vassal of the Holy See, at the annual rent of a thousand marks."-- Blackstone, Vol. IV. p. 108.
punished the man, and Interdict, which was passed upon an entire people. Very real in that "age of faith," and very dreary, was the doom of the excommunicated man. He was shut out from all church privilege, shunned like a leper by servants, family, and friends, incapable of giving testimony or claiming any rights before a court. The very meats he had touched were thrown away or burned. A bier sometimes was set at his door and stones thrown in at his casement, and his dead body was cast out unburied, incapable (it was thought) of decay, to bear everlasting witness against his sin. Whether emperor, prince, priest, or peasant, he was met every moment on every hand by the shadow of a curse that was worse than death. During the interdict, no church might be opened, no bell tolled. The dead lay unburied; no holy rite might be performed but baptism of babes and consolation of the dying. The gloom of an awful fear haunted the silent street and the sombre home; and not till the Church's spell was taken off. were the people free from the ghastly apparitions of supernatural horror. These two were the mainspring of ecclesiastical sway: "from the moment these interdicts and excommunications had been tried, the powers of the earth may be said to have existed only by sufferance." By none other was this invisible scourge wielded with such vigor and to such effect as by Innocent. But more than all, his name looms fearful and ominous in history, as the persecutor of heretics, as the real founder of the papal Inquisition, as the instigator of the frightful crusade against the Albigenses.
Wars in the East, the trade of the Levant, the gay, luxurious culture that gathered about the feudal castles and Courts of Love in Southern France, had introduced strange beliefs, it was said, and practices that undermined the Christian truth. The Church, in her pride of victory abroad, feared for her supremacy in men's hearts at home. A mongrel faith, Manichæan, Mussulman, Jewish, Bulgarian, mocking the name and forms of Christian, had made a people of heretics, light-hearted, gay, licentious perhaps, hateful to the ascetic theory and merciless discipline of the Church. Sudden and awful was the stroke the Church dealt at this insidious foe. Its thunders, grasped and hurled by Innocent, blasted in an