History of the Church: Later Middle Ages - Notre Dame

Struggle of the Church for Independence

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I. The Contest of Investitures

A new era dawned for Western Catholicism when Gregory VII. ascended the Papal throne. His influence had been at work long before he was raised to the Pontificate, but the results of his labours were too far-reaching to be visible during his own lifetime. In order to understand all that this grand medieval Pope did for the Church, it will be necessary to give a short account of his earlier career, and of the difficulties with which he had to contend after his election.

Gregory VII., almost better known in general history as Hildebrand, was the son of a Tuscan craftsman. He passed the whole of his boyhood and youth in the shelter of the cloister, commencing his studies at St. Mary's on the Aventine In Rome, and completing them at the famous monastery of Cluny, under the Abbot St. Odilo, who foretold that the youthful religious would do good service for the Church. From Cluny he passed to the Court of Henry III. of Germany, where his preaching struck everyone by its apostolic vehemence. We next find him in Rome, where he assisted Pope Gregory VI. till his abdication, and continued with him till his death, when he once more took up his abode at Cluny with the intention of spending the remainder of his life in that holy solitude. But as Pope Leo IX. passed to Rome some years later, on his way to take possession of the Holy See, to which he had been nominated by Henry IV., son and successor of Henry III., he called at Cluny, and was so struck with Hildebrand's power and zeal that he took him to Rome, ordained him deacon, and soon after promoted him to the Cardinalate. But Hildebrand had not been idle during the months that preceded his elevation to the Sacred College. He had induced Pope Leo to submit to canonical election by the clergy and people of Rome in spite of the imperial nomination which had selected him for the office. This was the first of the long series of Hildebrand's hard-won victories over the encroachments of the temporal power on the rights of the Church.

For twenty-five years Hildebrand was the counsellor and support of the Popes, six of whom followed one another in rapid succession. Most of these Pontiffs were elected at the suggestion or by the influence of Hildebrand. During these years he was employed as Legate of the Holy See in Germany and France, where he strove to carry out the reforms decreed by the Pope.

The feudal system had given rise to many abuses, the Church being almost at the mercy of the sovereigns and greater nobles. This had resulted in unworthy persons being nominated to sees, abbeys, and other benefices. Besides these lay nominees being too often men of scandalous lives, many had purchased the presentation to benefices by heavy bribes. This practice was so common, that even the better-disposed princes connived at it, as they drew most of their revenues from this source, while the most shameless openly sold the benefices to the highest bidder.

Moreover, sovereigns not only exercised their pretended right of nomination, but they claimed that of investiture also. This was another feudal custom—whenever a suzerain conferred a fief upon a vassal, he did so by handing him some symbol by which the transfer of property and of rights was not only signified, but actually conferred. Then the vassal did homage for the grant, and swore to be the lord's man, and to defend him and his rights against all comers. As long as temporal possessions and powers were thus granted and acknowledged, all was well. But an abuse had arisen by which sovereigns took to themselves the right of giving the ring and crosier to the men they had selected as bishops or abbots. These objects are symbols of spiritual powers, the ring denoting the espousal of a bishop to his diocese, the crosier the office of shepherd of the fold of Christ. As this investiture was made, and the homage was rendered, before consecration, there was great danger that it would get to be held that ecclesiastics received their spiritual powers from the sovereign. That some such idea did gain ground may account for the fact that in our own country, as late as the reign of Henry VIII., it was not all at once understood that the King was claiming a new power when he called himself Head of the Church in England. As the "man" was bound in honour to uphold his "lord," it can easily be seen that the very idea of right and wrong would become confused, and a loyal ecclesiastical vassal would find himself in a strange predicament whenever the interests of the Church and those of the suzerain conflicted. There could have been little liberty of conscience among men of such a character in such a position —thus it was that the Church was often at the mercy of the sovereign.

Under the influence of Hildebrand, one Pope after another promulgated decrees forbidding simony, as the sale of benefices was called, and renewing the ancient canons which enforced celibacy on the clergy, for this law of the Church also was constantly set aside at this period. The greatest service was rendered to the cause of virtue by the Monastic Institutes. A high standard of pure living was kept up, and those who endeavoured to carry out papal injunctions found their firmest support in the monks. The Cluniacs were in the vanguard of the defenders of the Holy See, but the new orders springing up at the time lent important aid. These were the Carnaldolese, the Monks of Vallombrosa, the Carthusians, and the Cistercians, all founded in the eleventh century. A marked improvement began to make itself felt, especially in the lower classes of the laity.

Another important point gained by the strenuous action of Hildebrand was the decree issued in 1059 by Pope Nicholas II. vesting the right of papal elections in the College of Cardinals alone.

At the funeral of Alexander II. in 1073, a singular scene occurred. The assembled people became excited, cries of "Hildebrand Pope!" were heard. Hildebrand attempted to mount the pulpit to calm and silence them, but a Cardinal forestalled him. The members of the Sacred College present had hastily consulted together and determined on their course of action. This prelate was their spokesman. He told the people that the Cardinals also chose Hildebrand, and that he was therefore Pope. Immediately Hildebrand, "unwilling and sad," says the chronicle, was vested and enthroned.

When the news spread, and Henry IV., setting aside Hildebrand's appeal against it, confirmed the election, men felt that the time had come for a great trial of strength between the ecclesiastical and the civil powers. They were not mistaken. The twelve years that followed were one long struggle for the freedom of the Church. The Pope chose his counsellors from the great abbeys, Hugh of Cluny and Hugh of Burgundy being the most prominent. The religious orders, and laymen of good lives, both nobles and peasants, took the part of the Pope. Among his most influential supporters were the Countess Matilda of Tuscany, and the Margrave Leopold of Austria. Ranged against the Pope were the great Western princes, among whom Henry IV. of Germany was prominent. He was the third sovereign of the House of Franconia, which had succeeded the House of Saxony in possession of the imperial crown. For though the German throne was elective, force or policy frequently succeeded in keeping it in the same family for several generations. The moral ascendancy of Henry III. had secured the Empire to his son, who mounted the throne when he was only six years old. The young Henry was flattered and courted till he could brook no opposition, and, when he took up the reins of government, though he was a most able Prince, he became utterly tyrannical and unscrupulous in attaining his aims. As the cessation of the abuses already spoken of would mean to them considerable loss of money and power, the great nobles, lay and ecclesiastic, and the towns, which were growing in importance, sided with the Emperor. But Henry could not count on all his immediate vassals, as, during his long minority, many nobles had taken the opportunity of securing greater independence, and they were glad of any pretext that would enable them to oppose their sovereign. Thus political as well as religious motives urged some to espouse the Pope's cause.

In England, William Rufus, and subsequently Henry I., strongly opposed the reforms. In France, while the nobles were on the side of the continuance of the innovations, the King, Philip I., appears to have taken little part in the struggle.

The Pope inaugurated a better state of things by personal visitations, exhortations, encyclicals, and decrees, all having for object the suppression of simony and the enforcement of celibacy of the clergy. But his principal aim was to destroy the practice of Lay Investiture, which he felt was at the bottom of all the other evils. It was thus that the great contest began. In 1074 Gregory solemnly forbade the conferring of ecclesiastical investiture by laymen, and declared both the donor and the receiver excommunicated. In the following year Gregory formally excommunicated some of Henry's subjects who had disobeyed. The Emperor protected his vassals, and about the same time his Saxon subjects revolted and appealed to the Pope against him. Henry refused to go to Rome when summoned, and instigated one of his partisans to seize the Pope's person. This brigand noble, Cenci by name, actually succeeded in entering St. Peter's on Christmas night when the Pope was saying Midnight Mass. He had turned to give Holy Communion, when he was seized and carried off to a dungeon, where, in cold and hunger, he passed his Christmas Day. Late in the evening the faithful subjects of the Pope rescued him, and immediately Gregory returned to the church and completed the interrupted sacrifice.

Henry went further still. He summoned a council, and pretended to depose the Pope. This may serve to show to what even a Sovereign Pontiff would be exposed were he the vassal of an earthly lord. Such a crime deserved excommunication, and the sentence was pronounced. In order to understand what followed, we must remember that the faithful subjects of the Church held a doctrine exactly opposed to the pretensions of the Sovereign. They believed that all authority came from God, and that, as the chief delegate of God on earth, the Pope was the sovereign of sovereigns, and that he had the right to judge whether a man was fit to reign or not. A King swore at his coronation to govern according to the law of God and to protect the Church, and the common feeling was expressed by words: "Thou shalt be king if thou dost well; if thou dost ill, thou shalt be king no longer," which had passed into canon law at a very early date. By the law of Christendom an excommunicated person was literally cut off from intercourse with other men: a king could not legally reign or lead his army to battle. But to allow for appeal or repentance, a warning was always given before the sentence was to be considered binding. In this case a year was given.

The German nobles implored the Pope to come to Augsburg and judge between them and their King. Henry begged to be heard in Rome, but the Pope decided that it was better that the case should be tried in Germany, and he immediately set out towards the frontier. Henry, determining at any cost not to incur the disgrace of a trial in his own dominion, crossed the Alps and intercepted the Pope, who turned aside to the Countess Matilda's mountain fortress at Canossa. Here Henry appeared, and for three consecutive days he came into the snow-clad courtyard under the windows of the Pope's apartments in penitential garb, barefoot and bareheaded, to implore forgiveness. The Countess Matilda and Abbot Hugh of Cluny thought the Emperor sincere, and joined their entreaties with his. Gregory knew Henry too well to put much faith in his promises, but on the fourth day he pardoned him; and on Henry's agreeing to certain conditions, the Pope suspended the threatened excommunication. Henry had gained his end, and, hastening back to Germany, made head against his nobles, who were now furious at seeing their hopes of redress futile. They determined on electing a new Sovereign, for it must not be forgotten that Henry was only Emperor-elect; he had never received the Papal coronation, that alone could give him imperial power. The insurgent nobles chose Rudolph of Swabia, and a contest of nearly three years' duration ensued, ending only with the death of Rudolph.

Henry's continued misgovernment and his contempt of the Pope's reiterated condemnation of investitures and of simony drew on him a renewed sentence of excommunication, to which he retaliated by causing an antipope, Clement III., to be set up in Germany. This he followed up by besieging Gregory in Rome. Traitors within the walls admitted the imperial troops. Henry had himself crowned by the antipope, and Gregory retired to the fortified castle of St. Angelo. After a three years' siege, Robert Guiscard, Duke of the new Norman State in Sicily, advanced upon Rome, drove off the enemy, and rescued the Pope. The city had been reduced to such a miserable condition that Gregory was obliged to leave it. He first went to Monte Cassino, and then to Salerno, where, overcome by the sorrows and strifes of his twelve years' pontificate, he fell into mortal sickness, 1085. As he lay dying, he said to those around: "Behold, I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile." A bishop who was present answered: "He cannot die in exile who has received the whole world as his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession."

After the death of St. Gregory, whose magnificent defence of the independence of the Church has at length been recognized in its true light by historians, his successors continued to struggle for the cause which had cost him his life. Urban II., at the Council of Clermont, 1095, condemned lay investitures anew by forbidding the usual oath of homage from ecclesiastics to laymen. Philip I. of France was the first to carry out the decree. He granted freedom of election throughout his kingdom, abolished investitures, requiring only an oath of fealty instead of the oath of homage. At a conference held at Bec, in Normandy, in 1106, Henry I. of England abandoned the greater part of his pretentious, but in Germany there was no prospect of amendment as long as Henry IV. lived. After a long series of reverses, the Emperor was deposed in 1104 by his son, who succeeded as Henry V. Two years later, the former master of the Empire fell down dead at Liege, unreconciled with the Church. The young sovereign, though far better disposed towards the Holy See than his father, could not be induced to give up the right of investiture till a compromise was effected by the Concordat of Worms, 1122, when the Emperor renounced his claim to investing with the ring and crosier, and agreed to grant freedom of election and of consecration, and "the Pope allowed investiture by the sceptre and the presence of the king at episcopal elections provided there was no simony or violence. At the ninth General Council, the first of Lateran, held the following year, the Concordat was confirmed, and from this time the investiture dispute may be considered as over.

But the spirit of hostility to the Holy See which had sprung from these contests did not die out with the investiture dispute. The struggle against ecclesiastical independence was kept up in some measure in the principal European States, but it was in Germany that the movement was most active. With Henry V. the Franconian Line came to an end. After the short reign of the Swabian Lothaire, the Hohenstaufen family occupied the throne for over a hundred years, a period sometimes known as the Hundred Years' War between the Papacy and the Empire. Like the Franconians, these princes endeavoured to subjugate the Church to the State, a policy which has come to be named in history, Caesarism. The subject of contest was sometimes purely ecclesiastical, and sometimes political, but gradually the various points at issue became merged in the famous struggle of the Guelfs and Ghibellines. When Conrad, the Hohenstaufen, became possessor of the Empire, his claim was contested by Henry, Duke of Saxony. At the Battle of Weinsburg in Swabia, Conrad's troops were opposed by those of Welf, uncle of Henry of Saxony. The story goes that the rival leaders rallied their followers with the cry "Hie Waiblingen!" "Hie Well!" the former being the name of a small territory in the Hohenstaufen domains. The war-cry thus adopted by the Emperor characterized for centuries the party that supported the German Sovereign, no matter what was the subject of dispute, his opponents being as consistently called Welfs. The scene of strife was speedily transferred to Italy, and it is in a semi-Italianized form that the famous party names have reached us, Guelfs and Ghibellines.

It will be remembered that Otto I. of Germany had resumed imperial sway over Italy. His pretensions were continued by his successors, but the greater Italian nobles secured, one after another, the independence of their domains. To check their power, Otto had granted considerable privileges to the Lombard cities, which profited by every opportunity to increase their freedom. When the Hohenstaufen Sovereigns sought to subject the towns anew to imperial exactions, they united into a treaty of mutual defence known as the Lombard League. In this they were joined by the lesser principalities, and naturally took the Guelf side in any struggle. In a short time the peninsula was divided among the adherents of the two parties. But towns and Princes would change sides as their own private ends suggested, and in the course of time the contest lost all trace of the original subject of dispute.

Under Frederic I. (1155–1190), surnamed Barbarossa, the strife ran high. This Prince conceived the vast design of putting himself at the head of the Empire of Charlemagne, and of exercising absolute control over Church and State. He showed his aim by violating the Concordat of Worms, and by seeking every pretext of quarrelling with the Holy See and of humbling the Lombard cities. Three times he invaded Italy with the intention of chastising the Pope and the League, and he gave consistent support to the antipopes who, for a quarter of a century, contested the Papal Throne. The Popes Hadrian IV. and Alexander III. were the champions of popular freedom, which ultimately triumphed at the Battle of Legnano, 1176. By the Treaty of Constance in 1183, the Empire recognized the rights of the Holy See and the liberty of the Lombard Republics. It was subsequent to these events, and, some say, in reparation for his conduct to the Popes, that Frederic Barbarossa took the Cross and set out on the Crusade in which he perished. The remaining Princes of the Hohenstaufen line all kept up, more or less, a spirit of hostility to the Papacy.

II. Ecclesiastical Independence Secured

In 1198 Cardinal Lothaire, one of the most powerful intellects of the day, as well as a prelate of deep and varied learning, was elected Pope, as Innocent III. In his reign, and by his efforts, was secured the independence of the Holy See which his predecessors had striven so long to attain, and never has a Pontiff held more absolute mastery over the sovereigns of Europe than Innocent III. He was really the lord of lords, appealed to and deciding the course to be followed in every dispute, not only in ecclesiastical affairs, but in political contests as well.

In Germany, Innocent claimed the right of arbitrating between the two claimants for the imperial throne on the death of Henry VI., son of Frederic Barbarossa. Through his influence, the youthful son of Henry VI., already by right of his mother King of Sicily, was ultimately chosen Emperor of Germany. He was crowned as Frederic II.

It was at the instigation of this Pontiff that Richard of England was set free from the captivity into which he had been trapped on his way home from the Crusades. It was Innocent, again, who obliged John to accept Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury, who received England as a fief from the same King, and who, as guardian of Henry III., defended his ward's rights against Philip Augustus of France. The French monarch was destined to find his desires once again stopped by the intrepid Pontiff. Philip had repudiated his beautiful and virtuous Queen, and taken another lady in her place. By excommunication and interdict the French Sovereign was forced to take back his lawful wife. Two Kings of Spain were arrested in a like career of wickedness. The encroachments on the rights of the Church practised by the Kings of Portugal, Norway, Sweden, and Poland were also restrained. The long-continued dispute about the allegiance of the Bulgarian Church was brought to a close by the submission of that princedom to Rome. The only unsuccessful enterprises undertaken by Innocent were the attempt to win back Russia to the unity of the Church, and the fourth Crusade, which, instead of freeing the Holy Land, resulted in the establishment of the Latin Empire of Constantinople.

In 1213 Innocent convoked the twelfth General Council. As in the three preceding Councils, the sessions were held in the Lateran Basilica; hence the Council is known as the fourth Lateran. During its sittings a new Crusade was decided on, the Albigenses were condemned, and several points of doctrine were defined. It was then that the word "Transubstantiation," already used by private theologians, was adopted by the Church to express with perfect precision the doctrine which teaches that, "by the words of consecration pronounced by the priest in the Mass, the whole substance of the bread is changed into the Body of Christ, and the whole substance of the wine into the Blood of Christ." The doctrine is, of course, as old as the Blessed Eucharist itself. A number of important decisions on matters of ecclesiastical discipline were also promulgated, among others the precept of Annual Confession and Paschal Communion, under pain of excommunication.

After a Pontificate of eighteen years, Innocent died in 1216. He was certainly the greatest of medieval Popes, but few men have been more variously estimated by historians. All alike acknowledge his genius, his learning, and his masterful character, but Protestant historians ascribe to unbounded ambition his intrepid action with regard to European Sovereigns. There is, however, little doubt that Innocent III. only carried out, with a view to the general good, the belief held by all in those ages, that the Pope was the supreme ruler on earth, not only of the Church, but of all peoples, the guardian of justice and virtue, the refuge to whom all in distress could flee for aid. What others held a Pope ought to be, that Innocent strove to realize. That his vigorous and uncompromising measures should have provoked complaint from those he condemned is not extraordinary, but that some such powerful barrier against unbridled licence was very much needed in those lawless days, few will doubt who have studied the period in detail.

The struggle between the Papacy and the German Empire was to break out again with fresh force when Innocent died. Frederic II., who owed his throne to this Pontiff, was one of the most brilliant of European Sovereigns, but his desires of supreme dominion brought him into collision with the superior claims of the Holy See. The Guelf and Ghibelline warfare was renewed with terrible earnestness on both sides. Frederic repeatedly promised to lead a Crusade to the East, but his evasions on the subject, the cruelties perpetrated on the clergy and the defenceless during his military expeditions, his determined opposition to the meeting of a General Council which went so far as to destroy the fleet conveying the prelates thither, and a scandalous licence of conduct, all combined to make him odious to his subjects, and he was excommunicated and deposed, in 1245, at the Council of Lyons. Though he affected to despise the sentence, his day of triumph was over. From that moment failure attended all his enterprises, and in 1250 he died. Conrad IV., his son, reigned for four years, and with him ended the Hohenstaufen line and the glory of the German Empire. Conrad's death was followed by a period of anarchy, known in German history as the "Great Interregnum." The power of Germany as the dominant State in Europe was over. The Holy Roman Empire was soon a thing of the past, except in name. When, in 1273, the imperial title was resumed by the House of Hapsburg, it had passed to the Austrian section of the Germanic States. The year 1871 witnessed its resumption by the House of Prussia.

Though German dominion gradually lost its hold over Italy, it left that nation a fearful legacy in the Guelf and Ghibelline faction fights. Every trace of the original subject of dispute was gone, but men fought for a name of which the very significance was lost. The Popes laboured strenuously to stem the tide of party fury, and in 1334 even forbade the use of the name Guelf and Ghibelline. Saints like St. Antony of Padua and St. Catherine of Siena often succeeded for a time in restoring peace in certain localities, but centuries passed before the movement wore itself out and peace reigned in the Italian peninsula.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

The Heresies of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

I. The Heresies.

The contests between the Church and the civil power just narrated were, if not the occasion, at least the opportunity for another class of difficulties to arise. This was the spirit of heresy, which, during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, gave birth to numerous forms of error, and led to numbers separating themselves from the true Church. The most widely spread of these sects were the Petrobrusians, the Arnoldians, the Waldenses, and the Cathari, known in some parts of Southern Europe as the Albigenses. All these heretics had some tenets in common. As they sprang up in an age when ecclesiastics, from causes already given, were not always what their sacred calling demanded, and when, moreover, numbers among them owned great wealth and wide lands, it is not surprising to find that an attack on the clergy, their authority, their powers, and their right of possessing worldly goods, formed a large proportion of the new teaching. The efficacy of the Sacraments was as frequently denied, and most of the sects, though claiming to have a mission to reform abuses, permitted, if they did not encourage, great laxity of morals.

The Petrobrusians were the followers of Peter of Bruys, a deposed priest, who, under pretext of zeal for Church discipline, originated this violent sect. To the general errors mentioned above, they added the denial of the necessity of Infant Baptism, of the doctrines relating to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and prohibited the use of churches. Their vehement public preaching attracted much attention from the ignorant, whom they led on to wild deeds of vandalism. In 1124, after twenty years spent in propagating his opinions, Peter fell a victim to his own teaching; he had instigated a mob of his followers in tearing down a number of statues and crucifixes, and had chosen Good Friday as an appropriate day for consigning them to the flames. The Catholics, infuriated at the sight, seized, bound, and flung him into the fire he had himself kindled. Pope Eugenius III. begged of St. Bernard to preach against these heretics, who after Peter's death were headed by an apostate Cluniac, named Henry of Lausanne. The Saint succeeded in reclaiming many of the deluded people, and Henry was put in prison, where he died soon after.

Similar in doctrine and practice to the above were the followers of Arnold of Brescia. Their special tenets were that salvation was impossible to any cleric holding property, and that therefore laymen ought to assist them by taking from them. all temporal goods, a devotion they set in practice by plundering churches.

The Waldenses, or disciples of Peter Waldo, a merchant of Lyons, attracted far more attention than either of the above. They were also less violent in their conduct, though their doctrines were not less dangerous. They began as an association for the preaching of penance and the furtherance of the knowledge of the Scriptures, which they caused to be translated. All the members, even women, preached publicly. But as this was done without any permission from ecclesiastical authority, their proceedings were condemned. The Waldenses would not yield, and the preaching went on. One Pope after another forbade this practice, but Innocent III., hoping by mildness to win them to a sense of their duty, allowed them to exist as a religious association, though he, too, prohibited preaching to laymen. Then the true spirit of the sectaries showed itself. The authority of all ecclesiastics and of the Pope himself was set at naught. The Church was declared to be an invisible union of faithful, the Communion of Saints a delusion; Penance and the Holy Eucharist were the only Sacraments recognised, and as these, they said, could be validly administered when necessary by women, the ecclesiastical state did not exist. Severe measures were taken to repress the rapidly spreading heresy, for their austere doctrines were attracting many well-intentioned but ignorant people. Yielding to necessity, the Waldenses withdrew to Bohemia, where a century later they merged into the Hussite sect. Some of those who among the Italian slopes of the Alps kept up the Waldensian tenets, joined the Protestant faction, which in the sixteenth century revolted from the Church.

But none of these heresies were as widespread or as marked in character as that of the Cathari. From their development in Southern France, they acquired the name of the Albigenses, and there and in the North of Spain they held their ground for more than a century. Their origin can be traced to Eastern sects, tainted with Manichism. In Europe they seem to have had adherents from the middle of the eleventh century. But it was not till a hundred years later that they began to make much stir in Southern Europe. Then it was found that whole districts had embraced the heretical teaching, and that, encouraged by their increasing numbers, they were becoming very dangerous both to the Church and State. Their strange jumble of doctrines, which contradicted the Christian Faith in almost every essential point, had a markedly depraving tendency on all who embraced it—clergy and nobles, townsfolk and peasants, all being alike deteriorated by the new teaching. Faith and truth seemed to have lost all significance for them, and in the combat to which this heresy gave rise, prelates and lords are to be found, first on the side of the heretics, then of the Church, and, as often as not, once more in the ranks of the enemy.



The Albigenses held that there were two creating principles—a good and an evil—the former being the author of all spiritual, and the latter of all material beings. This, of course, led to a blasphemous explanation of Scripture, and to the denial of the Incarnation and the Redemption. As a necessary consequence, they stated that there was no such thing as a Christian Church, and that those who claimed to be its pastors were but a set of impostors, and, they added, rogues and thieves. To account for the spiritual part of man, they stated that souls were the lost spirits under-going purgation or punishment. Their doctrine that matter is the creation of the evil principle made them reject the Sacraments, and teach that all contact with material things was detrimental to the soul; thus not only marriage was condemned, but even the use of food was considered imperfect. As too rigid an application of their doctrines would have speedily put an end to the sect, they allowed a certain licence to members of the lower order among their adherents, those known as the "Believers," while the full observance of their tenets was reserved to the "Perfect." That this observance existed in theory alone is self-evident, since we find the same leaders at the head of the movement for a considerable number of years. But to ensure salvation, a "Believer" must rise to the ranks of a "Perfect" before he died. This was effected by means of a ceremony called the "Consolamentum." As the Perfect might (by theory) neither eat nor drink, the rite was put off till the sick Believer was on the point of expiring. But it occasionally happened that the patient would unexpectedly show signs of recovery. This would have been ruinous to the pretensions of the ministers, who, of course, were initiated Perfects, and who would not trust their iniquitous secrets to any but carefully chosen dupes. To ensure the effects of the quasi-sacrament, they proposed to the recovering invalid a rather unpleasant alternative. He must either commit suicide or consent to be murdered. In the first case, he could secure to himself the glory of martyrdom; in the second, that due to confessors! If he accepted the first, he suffered himself to die of starvation; if the latter, he was bled to death or was poisoned. Children who had received this rite were ruthlessly murdered. Horrible as were their practices among themselves, their treatment of unbelievers was no less abominable. The most underhand methods were employed for disseminating their doctrines—for instance, young girls were initiated in all their tenets, and sent into families to proselytize those who unsuspectingly received them. A number of these women, reclaimed by St. Dominic, were gathered by him at Prouille, and formed the nucleus of his Second Order.

The Albigenses profaned and plundered every church they could gain possession of; they persecuted, and often slew, monks and nuns, and perpetrated everywhere the foulest crimes. Whenever they appeared, disorder and confusion were rife, and property was destroyed wholesale.

II. Measures of Suppression

During the whole of the twelfth century, Bishops resisted the spread of the heresy by decrees of Synods convened for the purpose, and preachers were sent among the people to instruct them as to the truth. But the evil infection was not to be stayed in its ravages. The matter was also treated of in the eleventh and twelfth General Councils, the third Lateran in 1179, and the fourth Lateran in 1215. Between these two Councils Pope Innocent III. attempted, by gentle means, to reclaim these obstinate heretics. Time after time he sent missionaries among them, and a band of Cistercian monks were the first. Then he called on Diego, Bishop of Osma, and St. Dominic, to preach throughout the heretical district. Shortly after he sent Legates to carry on the same work. It was due to the influence of St. Dominic that many were won back, especially after the Legates had adopted his suggestion of making their circuit in poor and lowly guise. But on the whole the success was slight, as the Albigenses were supported by two powerful nobles, Raymond VI., the sovereign Duke of Toulouse, and Roger VI., Viscount of Beziers. None of their vassals would make common cause with the missionaries in attempting to restrain the violence of the heretics, who, relying on the patronage of these rulers, ravaged and pillaged with impunity. In 1208, Peter of Castelnau, the Papal Legate, was murdered by them, Raymond being generally regarded as having connived at, if not of having instigated, the crime.

Innocent III. said of the Albigenses that they were doing more harm to Catholics in the west than the Turks were to those in the east. According to the spirit of the times, such things had to be put down with a strong hand. We must not forget that this was the age of the Crusades, nor be astonished at finding that a Holy War was decided on. All who joined the army were to take the cross and share in the indulgences offered to those who went to the rescue of Palestine. The Pope excommunicated Raymond, and called on the French King and the nobles of the Southern provinces to organize the Crusade against the Albigenses. Fearful of the consequences, Raymond submitted—underwent penance, took the cross himself, and promised to drive the heretics from his duchy. He was then absolved. The nobles who had gathered at the Pope's call were indignant at the leniency shown to the heretic leader, and were not slow to murmur against the action of Innocent III. But Raymond soon gave them the chance of attacking him by ignoring the conditions under which he had been pardoned.

The war began under the leadership of Simon de Montfort (father of the Earl of Lincoln), who had signalized himself during the third Crusade in the East. The first great fight was round the walls of Beziers, the head-quarters of the heretics, the town surrendering after a prolonged siege. The infuriated besiegers fell on the inhabitants and slaughtered them without mercy. It was a moment of retaliation, and the memories of a long series of cruelties experienced and of wrongs unavenged actuated the soldiery to deeds of brutality which we must regret, but cannot wonder at. Years of miserable strife then desolated the fairest provinces of France and Spain. Each party endeavoured to exterminate the other. On the Catholic side, captured heretics were offered recantation or the sword, relapsed heretics were burnt. The heretical army was not behindhand in atrocities, hence the story of the Albigensian war is sickening to read. The character of the age in which these deeds were done, and the nature of the abominable heresy against which they were directed, is the best explanation that can be offered of these lamentable occurrences.

By 1214 the fortunes of war had favoured the Catholic party, and Simon de Montfort was made Governor of the conquered lands. But Raymond of Toulouse called in the help of his brother-in-law, Peter of Aragon. Peter laid the cause of Raymond and of his partisan nobles before the Pope, who ordered hostilities to cease while he investigated the affair. But in the meantime Peter invaded Toulouse, and the war was waged with redoubled fury.

At first the Crusaders were successful. At the Battle of Muret, Peter of Aragon was killed, and Simon's authority was recognized in his dominions as well as in those of Raymond. Then the tide turned, and Raymond succeeded in regaining the city of Toulouse. In the struggle Simon de Montfort was mortally wounded. He bequeathed his claims on the government of the conquered provinces to his son Amaury, who continued the war. In 1222 Raymond VI. died, and his son took up the quarrel. Amaury then transferred his claim on Toulouse to the French Crown, and St. Louis, in 1229, made peace with Raymond VII. on condition that he would defend the rights of the Catholic Church, cede certain territories to France, and found a University whose masters should combat the teaching of the heretics. From this time the heresy rapidly declined, not, however, without having been the cause of the foundation of one of the most decried of medieval institutions, the Inquisition.

The Church has always claimed the right of examining persons and writings suspected of erroneous teaching, for she is responsible for the doctrines handed down from our Blessed Lord being transmitted in all their purity. But in the twelfth century the numerous heresies which arose necessitated more than ordinary precautions: the most poisonous teaching was being spread among the people on matters of faith and morals, and rebellion against all authority, human and Divine, was encouraged by the new sectaries. Both Church and State were in danger. One of the means taken to stop the evils from going further was the establishment of a court of inquiry—the Inquisition—to examine persons suspected of teaching false doctrines. The first regular tribunal was formed at Toulouse in 1229. As laymen could not be set up in judgment in cases of theology, those who presided were necessarily Bishops or priests. Dominicans, being the most learned ecclesiastics of the times, were generally chosen. As in the days of Moses, so in the ages of faith—offences against God were reckoned the most grievous of crimes, and not only were they forbidden by the law of God, but human laws punished them with great severity. Add to this that all these medieval heresies excited resistance to law and to rulers, and it will be understood why Church and State united in trying to put a stop to such teaching. When a man was accused of heresy, he was examined by the theologians; if he were found to hold false opinions, he was not condemned at once, opportunity was given him to recant; but if he refused he was punished. The Tribunal set up by the Church could imprison and fine, but could not condemn a man to death. However, in consequence of the nature of the teaching of the twelfth century sectaries, many States ranked heresy as a capital crime. Where this was so, as soon as a man was found by the ecclesiastical judges obstinately to hold heretical doctrines, the civil power took up the office of inflicting punishment, which was burning to death.

Most European nations set up Courts of Inquisition, though others, as in England, brought such matters before the ordinary criminal courts. Except in Rome and Spain, all Courts of Inquisition were abolished in the sixteenth century, though trials for religious opinions continued to be prosecuted with vigour in many places. The Roman Court still exists, as the Holy Office, but its duties have been for a long time restricted to the examining of books suspected of erroneous teaching and of questions dealing with faith or morals. During the whole period that it exercised its functions against heretics, it was always considered the most humane of courts. We often find that persons condemned by other inquisitors, notably by those of Spain, appealed to the Pope's Court, where it often happened that sentences were reversed or mitigated. We frequently find accounts of attempts made by the Popes to save the condemned from harsh treatment, or to exempt the innocent members of a family from the consequences of the guilt of its chief.

Most readers of history come across terrible stories of the doings of the Spanish Inquisition. From the time of its formation in the beginning of the thirteenth century to nearly the close of the fifteenth, like all the other courts of the kind, it was under ecclesiastical control and employed almost entirely in cases of heresy. Very few stories of cruelty have come down from this period. But when Spain by the valiant efforts of Ferdinand and Isabella was freeing herself from the Moorish yoke, great danger arose to the State from the numbers of Jews and Moors who remained mixed up with the Spanish people. The Sovereigns set up a new Court of Inquisition of which they had the control, they nominated the Inquisitors, they issued the decrees, and they received all confiscated properties. This is the ill-famed period of the Spanish Inquisition. Most of the horrors recounted in romances, or depicted on canvas, can be traced to the accounts given of this Tribunal by a Spaniard named Llorente, who published a "History of the Inquisition" in Paris, 1818.

When Joseph Bonaparte was placed on the throne of Spain by his brother Napoleon, Llorente, who had been Secretary to the Inquisition, joined the party which favoured the usurper and aided him in the work of confiscating the goods of the Spaniards who resisted him. Of course, his position was a perilous one, and on the expulsion of the French he had to flee from the country. He had previously obtained possession of all documents relating to the Inquisition. As soon as he had made what extracts he wanted for his history, he burned a considerable part of them. There is, therefore, no means of either confirming or contradicting his statements by comparing them with the original documents, which no longer exist. The only worth his writings have must therefore depend on Llorente's own character for uprightness, which is generally owned to be not of the highest. His accusations against the Inquisition fall under two heads, the numbers executed and the cruelties exercised against the prisoners. Without by any means defending the Inquisition, it has been shown that even if Llorente's own calculations are correct, the number of people put to death in Spain under this tribunal was probably less than those executed in England at the same time, and that if Spain were cruel in her punishments, England and France were no less so. The legal punishments of the day, often put in force, and still to be found in English criminal law books, are a disgrace to a Christian country. A witch was to be burned, a poisoner boiled, an accused person refusing to plead was crushed to death, while all agree that the death inflicted on traitors could scarcely be surpassed by the horrors of pagan persecutions. As to imprisonment, the less Englishmen say on the subject the better, as long as the inhumanity revealed by the visitations of prisons by Howard and Mrs. Fry are still remembered. It would also be difficult to match the horrors of confinement to the hulks, or what was endured by convicts in Norfolk Island.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

The Crusades

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

I. Causes of the Crusades.

In extending their conquests eastwards, the Saracens came into collision with the Turks, who, from the fall of the Hunnish Empire in the fifth century, had occupied the broad plains between the Caspian and the Indus. For about five hundred years the Turks were more or less under subjection to the Saracens, from whom they gained some slight notions of civilization, and whose religion they adopted. In the beginning of the eleventh century, the Turks began to rise against their masters and to carve out fresh territories for themselves. From the broad plains beyond the Caucasus they streamed down on western lands. These Turks were fierce warriors of Tartar descent, wild barbarians, savagely cruel, and animated with the most intense hatred of Christianity. Their leader, when they appeared on the confines of Europe, was Togrul Beg, grandson of a chieftain called Seljuk, from whom this race takes its name of Seljukian Turks. Pressing forward with irresistible perseverance, they conquered Armenia, Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt.

Their conquests were not like those of other nations. They never settled down peaceably among the vanquished people, but remained as an armed force in the midst of the few scattered wanderers who escaped the slaughter which had followed on the pillage of their homes and cities. The least provocation was sufficient to throw the invading hordes, with unbridled fury, on the miserable remnants of the subjugated people who then perished in thousands along their path.

The dominion of the Seljukian Turks lasted about two hundred years, and throughout the whole period they were never at peace. Their wretched subjects would organize revolts or join in the attack of frontier tribes. So we find the Turks constantly at war with Saracens, Kurds, and other Mohammedans, and note that sometimes one of these tribes and sometimes another successively obtained possession of the same spot. This was notably the case with Jerusalem.

The empire of the Seljukian Turks fell eventually through the combined efforts of European Christianity and of Mongol invasion. The work of European Christianity is known as the Crusades, which we are about to study. That of the Mongol Genghis Khan deserves a passing notice. This founder of a military empire, which only lasted about sixty-five years, began his career at the age of thirteen on the confines of the Pacific Ocean. His tribe held the vast pastoral plain up to the Wall of China, which had been built against the Huns—savage warriors who began their depredations in the second century B.C. After subduing all his neighbours, Genghis Khan started, in 1211, on that military raid of fourteen years which made him master of the wide lowlands from the shores of the Pacific to the eastern frontier of Germany. His whole army was composed of horsemen, and numbered some hundreds of thousands. They merely rode over the land, destroying everything they came across, robbing, slaying, and passing on, leaving ruin and desolation where, but a few weeks before, magnificent cities and happy homesteads had dotted the plains. Fiercer even than the Turks themselves, they boasted that where their horses' feet had trod nothing ever flourished again. Such were the savage warriors who, at the time when the later Crusades were on foot, helped to destroy the empire of the Turks. The Seljuks gave way before their fierce onslaught, but not before they themselves had threatened Europe, and had almost made themselves masters of Constantinople.

In speaking of the Turks, Cardinal Newman says: "This unhappy race, from the first moment they appear in the history of Christendom, are its unmitigated, its obstinate, its consistent foes." It is a mystery, but the fact stands, since the year IO48 the Turks have been the great antichrist among the races of men. From the first the Popes saw the frightful danger that the Turks would prove to Christendom, and had warned European Powers against allowing them to advance their frontier westward, and for seven centuries their voice was raised against them. St. Gregory VII. suggested the earliest idea of an expedition against them. In 1074 he told Henry IV. of Germany that he had fifty thousand men, whom he could send against the Turks. If this sovereign had turned his arms and devoted his prowess against the infidel instead of against the Pope, with what glory would he not have covered his name, and how different would have been the course of European history!

Towards the close of the eleventh century, when the Turks were still extending their conquests, their presence in Syria, where they had set up the Sultanate of Roum, was a considerable danger to the now decrepit Eastern Empire. Michael VII. appealed to Pope Gregory VII. for assistance; and there is no doubt that, had the zealous Pontiff been less engaged in contests with refractory ecclesiastics and haughty sovereigns, he would have prosecuted with his characteristic perseverance such a beneficent project. All through the Crusades the Greek Emperors played an important though a perfidious part. That the Crusades failed to attain the object for which they had been organized is largely due to the action of these monarchs. Constantly appealing to the West for help, they threw difficulties in the way of those who came to their assistance, refused the promised troops and provisions, and betrayed them into the hands of their savage foes. We shall see the retribution that befell them.

II. History of the Crusades

The occasion of the West taking up arms against the Turks was as follows: Pilgrimages to the scene of the life and the passion of our blessed Lord have always been a favourite devotion of Catholic peoples, and for some time previous to the Turkish invasion had been getting comparatively easy. But the ferocious new-comers treated all pilgrims with savage cruelty. Few escaped without fine, torture, or imprisonment. We are told of a band of seven thousand pilgrims, of whom only two thousand returned to Europe, and of horrible atrocities wreaked on the Patriarch of Jerusalem himself. Peter the Hermit, a monk of Amiens, returning from a long and painful pilgrimage in the Holy Land, recounted to Pope Urban II. not only the story of his own woes, but of those inflicted both on all pilgrims and on the Christians resident in Palestine. Peter was commanded by the Pope to tell the same sad tale throughout Christendom, and to endeavour to rouse the piety and kindle the warlike spirit of the knights with the desire of putting an end to such atrocities. In this he was eminently successful; and when, in 1095, the Pope called a Council at Clermont, in the South of France, and himself spoke in favour of a Holy War for the rescue of the sacred places and to ensure safety for pilgrims, he was answered by a mighty shout of "Deus vult!" (God wills it!), and thousands immediately offered themselves as warriors, receiving as a pledge of their engagement a red cross. This became the distinctive mark of the Christian heroes who enlisted for the Holy Wars, which were hence called Crusades.

A year was to be spent in preparation, but long before the day agreed upon for departure—namely, the Feast of the Assumption, 1096—several motley bands had set out of their own accord under the guidance of Peter the Hermit and a knight called Walter the Penniless. They marched overland towards Constantinople. Having no provisions, they indulged in pillage and plunder, and were slaughtered in thousands by the enraged populations of the lands through which they passed, their losses being greatest in Hungary. A few only crossed the Bosphorus into Asia Minor, where they were speedily exterminated.

The First or the Knights' Crusade
(A.D. 1096.)

By the given date six magnificent armies had been equipped and placed under the leadership of the most renowned knights of the time—men fitted by rank and virtue to lead such troops. The very flower of chivalry had gathered at the call of the pope. Their warlike ardour had not only a worthy, but a holy, object. They were thus fired with enthusiasm, springing from some of the best and strongest feelings of the human heart.

With unselfish generosity the knights chose Godfrey de Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine (Brabant, Belgium), as their general. He was the bravest and most virtuous, and for these qualities he was placed over men who, though his superiors in rank, were proud to serve under his banner. Belgium gave several of the other leaders, among them the two brothers of Godfrey, and Robert, Count of Flanders. These, with Stephen, Count of Chartres, Robert, Duke of Normandy, and Hugh, Count of Vermandois, led the English, the Norman, and the French Crusaders. Raymond of Toulouse headed the armies of Burgundy, Provence, and Lombardy. The South of Italy sent a choice, though less numerous, band, led on by Bohemond of Tarentum, son of the famous Norman, Robert Guiscard. Perhaps the most renowned of all the knights was to be found in the last-named band. This was Tancred, later on Prince of Tiberias, a cousin of Bohemond, and the hero of many a tale of chivalric daring.

The glorious host gathered before Constantinople in the spring of 1097. The Greek Emperor, Alexius Comnenos, terrified at their multitude and their prowess, to ensure his own safety beguiled all the leaders, except Godfrey, Tancred, and Raymond, into doing him homage for the time they should pass in his territories. Then he gave them some very half-hearted assistance, and later on did all in his power to thwart their success.

The first exploit of the Crusaders was a seven weeks' siege of Nicaea, the capital of the Seljukian Turks. The place surrendered in June, and the vast army moved forward, harassed by the flying troops of Soliman, the Sultan, and his allies. The desperate battle of Dorylaeum, won by the Crusaders, opened the way into Syria. But the advancing army found that the retreating enemy had devastated the lands over which they had to pass, and thousands perished from hunger during the long and weary march. About four months were spent in the attempt to reach Antioch, the capital of Syria, and seven more in trying to take the city. The Crusading army gradually dwindled away, thinned by desertion and famine. Baldwin, the brother of Godfrey, had gone off on his own account with his contingent, and had taken possession of Edessa, of which he caused himself to be named Prince. At last Bohemond the Norman stormed Antioch by surprise a year after the taking of Nicaea. But once within the city, the Crusaders were in turn besieged; their situation grew desperate and courage was ebbing low, when the Holy Lance was miraculously discovered in the Church of St. Peter. This animated the Crusaders to fresh ardour, and Godfrey, Bohemond, and Tancred organized a sortie, and, fighting the besiegers outside the walls, forced them to flee. The way to Jerusalem was thus open. Bohemond was left behind to defend Antioch, and the scanty remnant of the magnificent army went on its way. It was May, 1099, When the Crusaders came in sight of Jerusalem, the goal of all their hopes.

But the enemy against whom the Crusades had been set on foot four years previously was no longer there. Jerusalem herself had been besieged

bile the Crusaders were starting to rescue her from the Turks, and it was a Saracen banner that again floated over her walls when the Christian host arrived. Godfrey and Tancred led men whose zeal was roused to the highest pitch of enthusiasm, and forty days sufficed to reduce the Saracens to submission. It was on July 15, 1099, a Friday afternoon, at three o'clock, when Godfrey planted the cross on the walls of Jerusalem. The Holy City was once more in Christian hands after four hundred and sixty-three years of captivity under Moslem rule. In the fury awakened by stern resistance, a fearful massacre ensued. At last the tide of carnage was stemmed, and the Crusaders, humbled and penitent, visited the holy places they had come to rescue.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

The Holy City with the surrounding territory became the kingdom of Jerusalem, Godfrey de Bouillon being elected as its first sovereign. He would accept neither crown nor title, but the toils and anxiety of government he did not decline. As defender of the Holy Sepulchre, he ruled wisely for one short year, during which the famous Assizes of Jerusalem were held, when a code of laws, based on the feudal law of Europe, was given to the newly founded kingdom and the subordinate principalities. Godfrey had also won a complete victory over the Egyptian Sultan at Ascalon, and so firmly established the Christian power that it lasted for a hundred years. His brother and cousin succeeded him, as Baldwin I. and Baldwin II. Three lesser States had been founded, the principalities of Antioch (under Bohemond of Tarentum) and of Edessa, and the County of Tripoli, which comprised the territory between Antioch and Jerusalem. These principalities gradually increased in power, and the safety of pilgrims was thus ensured. All the newly conquered lands were divided into dioceses, with Jerusalem as the seat of a Patriarch.

But attacks from the vanquished enemy had to be guarded against, and a number of knights remained to defend the Holy Places, when the other Crusaders returned to Europe. Gradually many of them formed into religious communities, and without giving up their warlike duties, they took the monastic vows and led the life of the cloister when not engaged in actual combat. Their work included the care of the sick and of pilgrims. In all ports at which pilgrims touched on their way to and from the Holy Land these military monks were shortly to be found devoting themselves with untiring ardour to the task of facilitating the journeys of the pious travellers, and defending them from all enemies.

The Second or St. Bernard's Crusade
(A.D. 1147–1149.)

Barely fifty years passed before a second Crusade became necessary. The Latin princes were not agreed among themselves, and while thus weakened they were attacked by Zenghi, the Turkish Sultan of Aleppo, and Edessa was retaken in 1145, the Christian inhabitants being put to the sword.

All Europe was roused at the news. St. Bernard of Clairvaux was urged by Pope Eugenius III. to preach a new Crusade. Fired with a zeal equal to that of Peter the Hermit, and already renowned for the sanctity of his life, the great abbot's influence soon made itself felt. The German

Emperor Conrad III. (father of Frederic Barbarossa), and the French King Louis VII., took the cross. Their armies advanced separately. Conrad, whose troops were accompanied by a vast multitude of priests, women, and children, took the same route as the preceding Crusaders, and passed by Constantinople. The Greek Emperor, Manuel Comnenos I., did all in his power to stop their progress. He deceived them with fair promises, robbed them of their money, gave them bad provisions, and, it is said, betrayed them to their enemies. Conrad's army was almost cut to pieces in Asia Minor, and the survivors retreated to Nicaea. There the French army met them, and a march towards Jerusalem was decided on. But envoys came from the Holy City begging the Crusaders to abandon all thoughts of retaking Edessa, and to endeavour to capture Damascus instead. After an unsuccessful siege of that city, and a series of battles with the hordes of Turks, who swarmed round the advancing army, the Christians had to beat a speedy retreat. News of disorder at home induced the Crusading kings to return to Europe. The second Crusade was an utter failure. St. Bernard had to suffer a full measure of reproach for having induced such a magnificent body of men to go forward to destruction. Though intensely grieved at the disaster, St. Bernard answered that he had been but an instrument in God's hands, that the cause must be sought for in the excesses of the Crusaders themselves.

The Third or the Kings' Crusade
(A.D. 1182–1192.)

The collapse of the Second Crusade encouraged the Turks, who, under Nureddin, son of Zenghi of Aleppo, extended their territory to the frontiers of Africa, where their advance was checked by another Mohammedan power, just rising into prominence. Saladin, a Kurdish chief, had already made himself master of Egypt. On the death of Nureddin he declared himself Sultan, and in an incredibly short time added that monarch's domains to his own. The young and enterprising Saladin is one of the finest characters among Moslem sovereigns. His rule was wise and generous; he was a lion of bravery and a courteous and honourable foe. In 1187, Saladin, who was by this time making himself master of the whole of Palestine, overthrew the Crusaders at Tiberias, the King of Jerusalem and the Grand Masters of the Templars and of the Knights of St. John being among the prisoners. He then took Jerusalem from the diminished band of Christian defenders, and the work of nigh a hundred years was overthrown.

The terrible news startled the chivalry of Europe. Private quarrels were forgotten in the common woe, and the noblest sovereigns gathered their troops round them and marched towards the Holy Land. Frederic I. (Barbarossa), the German Emperor, who had during the earlier part of his reign carried on an ignoble strife against the Popes, and who now desired to repair his errors, started first. His route was overland, and this time the Greek Emperor, Isaac II. (Angelus), was forced to assist the Crusaders, but when they reached Asia Minor their progress was harassed night and day by armed bands of Turks. The march to Iconium may be styled a twenty days' battle, so fierce and ceaseless were their onslaughts. Frederic took this city, and thus opened the way for the other armies, but he was drowned while crossing the Cydnus, and such of his troops as were not disbanded joined the banner of Guy of Lusignan. Henry II. of England had taken the cross on the first news of the fall of Jerusalem, but he died almost immediately after. His warlike son, Richard Coeur de Lion, was only too ready to go in his place. Seeing that disaster had always overtaken the forces which took the land route to Jerusalem, Richard of England and Philip Augustus of France determined on going by sea. Through his erratic exploits on the way, Richard was the last to arrive. Philip Augustus was besieging Acre with little prospect of success, when Richard's presence and the arrival of fresh troops speedily secured victory to the Crusaders. Philip Augustus, partly through jealous quarrels with Richard and partly through ill-health, returned to Europe, taking with him two-thirds of his fine army. Only ten thousand Frenchmen remained to co-operate with Richard. The fall of Caesarea and Jaffa followed, but the troops were not numerous enough to allow of a siege of Jerusalem, one of the strongest cities on the globe. The English King therefore signed a truce with his generous enemy Saladin, who agreed that Christians should have free access to the Holy Places. The Holy Cross, which had fallen into Moslem hands, was restored; and for a time at least the advance of Mohammedan conquests in the direction of Europe was arrested.

The Fourth or Pseudo-Crusade
(A.D. 1202–1204.)

So many unsuccessful attempts to recover the Holy Places were made during the next thirty years that historians differ considerably as to which merit the name of Crusade. The greater number pass over the abortive efforts of Henry II. of Germany, and give the name to an expedition in 1202, headed by Baldwin of Flanders and Boniface of Montferrat, although it never even reached the Holy Land. Pope Innocent III. instigated this attempt, but warned the Crusaders (and the event showed with what good reason) that if they undertook to right political wrongs on the way the object of their war would be lost sight of.

No great princes joined in this Crusade, but a number of feudal lords with their retainers swelled the armies of Baldwin and Boniface. English readers will be most interested to hear of Simon de Montfort, father of the founder of the first House of Commons, and of Louis of Blois, of the same family as the English King Stephen. The Crusaders secured the assistance of the important maritime city of Venice, which lent its ships on condition that the army should recover the town of Zara in Dalmatia for the Republic. The Doge, Enrico Dandolo, accompanied the fleet, and was speedily recognized as the leading spirit among the Crusaders. His aim, however, was not to take Jerusalem, but to storm Constantinople, with which city the Venetian Republic was at feud. Circumstances favoured his project.

Isaac II. (Angelus), Emperor of the East, had shortly before been deposed, blinded, and imprisoned by his unnatural brother, Alexis III., the Tyrant. The son of the captive monarch met the Crusaders, and implored them to free his father. A siege was decided on, and the Western troops invested the place. The usurper fled, and the old king and his son shared the throne between them. But they had promised, as a condition of assistance being given, to reunite the Eastern Church with the Western, and to assist the Crusaders by means of heavy subsidies. The populace, angered at the imposition of the taxes thus rendered necessary, massacred the newly-reinstated sovereigns, and civil war ensued. The Crusaders, profiting by the disorder, seized Constantinople. By the influence of Dandolo the Doge, a Latin Government was set up, and Baldwin of Flanders was declared emperor.

If anything had been wanting to complete the animosity of the Greeks against the West it was this. All hope of the reunion of the schismatic Eastern Church with Rome was over, and, as the Pope had foreseen, the Crusade itself was abandoned. The Byzantine or Greek Empire was broken up for a time. Two so-called empires came into existence—that of Nicaea, comprising the northwest of Asia Minor, and that of Trebizond, along the southern shores of the Black Sea. Greece and Epirus still owned the Greek yoke, but the Venetians took possession of most of the Grecian islands of the Archipelago, and thus Venice became mistress of the Mediterranean. Constantinople was retaken by the Nicaean Emperor, Michael Palologus, in 1261, after the Latin Empire had lasted fifty-seven years.

The Fifth or Hungarian Crusade.
(A.D. 1218–1220.)

Owing to the failure of the Fourth Crusade, another was set on foot by the King of Hungary and John of Brienne, titular King of Jerusalem. Numerous bands of knights from other lands set out, but having no concerted plan of action, they were doomed not to succeed. This Crusade is only remarkable for the change in tactics adopted by the Crusaders. They determined on advancing through Egypt and on seizing Cairo as the key to the Holy Land. Damietta was captured, but had to be restored, as the only means of securing a peaceable retreat for the Crusaders who were shut in by the rising of the Nile.

The Sixth or German Crusade.
(A.D. 1228–1230.)

At the twelfth General Council, the fourth Lateran, 1215, it was decided that a renewed attempt must be made to rescue Palestine. Frederic II. of Germany was the most powerful monarch of Christendom, and in virtue of his position ought to have taken the lead; he had, moreover, pledged himself by oath to join the Crusades. During ten years Pope Honorius III. vainly urged him to carry out his promise. At last a magnificent army gathered in the ports of the Mediterranean—it is said that sixty thousand Englishmen alone were there, who had joined in response to the preaching of St. Edmund Rich. No transports were forthcoming, and forty thousand Crusaders perished of hunger and pestilence while waiting for the perfidious monarch. At last the merited excommunication fell. Then, without an attempt at reconciliation with the Church, Frederic started for the Holy Land. But no fighting took place, and the German sovereign was accused at the time of bribing the Sultan to grant a shameful peace. There was to be truce for ten years; some of the Holy Places were restored to the Christians, and Frederic was to be recognized as King of Jerusalem. He crowned himself, because no one could be found to crown an excommunicated prince; and after amusing himself during some months and fraternizing with the Moslems, Frederic returned home to commence a still wilder career of wickedness than that in which he had hitherto indulged. In spite of the inroads of the Mongols, who were now advancing westwards, the Turkish hordes were able to possess themselves again of Jerusalem, 1243. The Holy City to this day remains in the hands of the Mohammedans.

The Seventh and Eighth, or the Crusades of St. Louis
(A.D. 1248–1250 and 1270–1274.)

The deplorable state to which Palestine was again reduced, together with the lessening power of the Seljukian Turks, now fiercely attacked by Mongols, and a vow he had made in sickness to take the Cross if he recovered, caused the saintly king Louis IX. of France to undertake the Seventh Crusade, 1248. His army of forty thousand men was composed almost entirely of Frenchmen, and he was accompanied by his virtuous and beautiful queen, Margaret of Provence, and all his children. The queen-mother, blanche of Castile, was left Regent of France during the king's absence. The troops were delayed in Cyprus waiting for reinforcements, and it was during the Nile floods that an attack on Damietta was made. By desperate bravery the town was taken, but another time of waiting for more troops proved fatal to success. The army could not get across the flooded delta, nor ford the canals. At length a bridge was constructed across the Mansourah Canal. But the king's brother, the Count of Artois, impatient of the wiser counsel of the Earl of Salisbury, without waiting till the whole army had crossed, dashed at the Mamelukes, fierce warriors who were defending the opposite bank, and a most unequal battle was fought. The bravery of St. Louis won that fight and a second shortly after, but victory was useless to troops who were dying of malaria.

Harassed, decimated, and struck down by disease, the French army was captured by the Mamelukes, Louis himself, exhausted by fever, and his brother being among the prisoners. The greater number were slain, and Damietta was hourly expecting an attack, when the Egyptian Sultan died. Then the fierce chief of the Mamelukes was slain. This proved the safety of the French, for the widow of the Sultan accepted the terms that had been offered by St. Louis. Damietta was given up as the king's ransom, and a million of gold bezants was paid down for that of the troops. The French queen and her retinue were put on board ship, and St. Louis and the prisoners were freed. The king's splendid courage and manly piety had won the admiration of even his savage captors. Ill though he was, Louis remained behind with a few companies of soldiers and went on to Palestine, where he strengthened Acre and the other coast cities, so that they were able to make a stand against the Turks. He also made a pilgrimage to the Holy Places, but the death of his mother, the Queen Regent, recalled him to France, 1254.

St. Louis entering Paris.


The Turks continued to lose their hold on the Western Provinces while the Mongols were consolidating their power. This encouraged the Saracens of Egypt to fresh action, and they seized Antioch. In 1270 St. Louis set out for the Holy Land for what proved to be the final attempt at rescuing Palestine from the infidels. His allies were his own relatives, three of his sons, his two brothers, two of his nephews (one being Prince Edward of England), and his son-in-law, the King of Navarre. Louis was led to believe that if he appeared before Tunis, the Sultan would become a Christian. He therefore landed his troops on the sandy plains near the site of the ancient Carthage. Whether or no a trap had been laid for him, the result was most disastrous. Louis, with no means of defence, was soon surrounded by enemies. Pestilence, fostered by foul water and the intolerable heat of the sun, broke out among the harassed troops. The king was at last struck down, and amid sufferings borne with heroic patience, he gave counsels of great practical wisdom to his son, afterwards Philip III., and endeavoured to provide for the safety of his followers. Prince Edward landed in time to hear that Louis had just died, August 25, 1270, and that success was almost hopeless. The French troops returned home, but Edward went on to Palestine, though even his bravery could not rescue the Holy City. He, too, had to abandon the undertaking, and was on his way back to England when he was met with the tidings of his father's death and of his own accession, 1272. The Egyptian Saracens continued their career of conquest, and one Christian town after another fell into their hands. Acre was the last to hold out, but it, too, was taken in 1291, and the Latin dominion in the East was a thing of the past.

III. Results of the Crusades

Though the Crusades failed to achieve the purpose for which they were set on foot, their influence on the subsequent history of Europe can hardly be overestimated. From the time that the movement began there can be noticed a rapid development of political and constitutional liberty, together with a growth of commerce, industry, and learning, that changed the face of nations.

The decay of feudalism can most certainly be traced to these wars. Nobles sold or let their vast estates to tenants who could afford to pay them the money necessary for the equipment of their crusading troops. Thus, property and power passed into the hands of the rising middle classes, for, even if the crusader returned, he was rarely in a position to redeem his estates. Indirectly the influence of the sovereign rose, as he was no longer confronted by peers who were his rivals in dominions and often in power. The decay of feudalism not only meant the cessation of the private wars, which had been the bane of society for several centuries, but the growth of towns. This alone would have sufficed to effect a momentous change in politics.

Nations came to know each other better. In the brotherhood born of combats shared, of sufferings and toils endured for a common and holy cause, there was a beginning of communion between the various Western peoples. National prejudices, the result of ignorance and isolation, began to give way, and "the education of European States in a common school tended to promote manifold bonds of union in trade, language, civilization, and polish." The West learned from the East many sciences hitherto little cultivated. Mathematics and medicine began to be taught in Europe, the medieval schoolmen devoting considerable attention to developing the stores of learning which were thus opened up. Maritime routes laid open for military enterprise continued to be traversed for purposes of commerce; rich stuffs and precious gems were imported into European marts, and the sight of such rarities gave a new impetus to Western manufacturers.

That the Crusades were a great benefit to after years is now almost universally acknowledged. "The people of those ages were substantially right in regarding the Crusades as the means of forcing back the tide of Mohammedan eruption and Asiatic barbarism at the critical period of extreme danger for Europe. . . . It is now admitted that the survival of any Christianity at all in Asia was due to the Crusades; that the expulsion of the Moors from Spain and Portugal was part of the movement; and that the knights of Rhodes and Malta, whose splendid valour saved the nations of the Mediterranean, were the direct progeny of previous heroism."

While many of the more recent writers recognize the Crusades as a necessary and beneficial feature of the Middle Ages, it often escapes notice that they were not only no small indication of the intensely religious character of the age in which they occurred, but that they fostered that spirit by the heroism of self-sacrifice, and by the splendour of the faith which they evoked. The appreciation of the supernatural must have been keen in men who could give up everything that they held dear on earth for so unworldly an aim as the freedom of the Holy Places. That brave warriors fresh from conquests should have bound themselves by monastic vows, and thus originated that most characteristic and extraordinary product of religious medievalism—the military monk—is a still further demonstration of the same fact. The result on their contemporaries could not but be marked. So we note that from this time forward there is an immense activity in every religious movement. Thus the beneficent action of the Popes on the clergy was seconded by an admirable spirit of faith in the laity; and not the least gain to the Church was the multitude of her sons who gave up their lives in defence of their belief, and who thus testified to the supremacy of the claims of the supernatural over those of the natural man.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

Military and Religious Orders

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

I. Chivalry and the Military Orders

Chivalry, one of the most remarkable of medieval institutions, rose out of the continued influence of feudalism and religion, or, rather, from the softening effect of religion on feudalism, whose best features were retained, while its worst were suppressed. It may be termed a Christian code of morality regulating welfare and social life, and is a striking instance of the power of the Church to seize on what is good in a popular movement, to control its evil tendency, and to raise it to an exercise of virtue.

Thus, the love of honour, directed by respect for religion, framed a set of men whose noble independence, manly piety, and high sense of duty to their sovereign, and of the protection and deference due to the weaker sex, have made them the type of Christian manhood. Side by side with reckless bravery in the field were cultivated the beautiful social virtues of urbanity, self-denial, and respect for others. Courtesy of bearing and of speech, generous hospitality, coupled with a tender care for the weak and suffering, lent their refining influence to the sterner virtues, and completed the characteristics of a true knight.

It was during the Crusades that chivalry acquired its distinctive religious character, and that a mighty impetus was given to manly virtue in the ranks of knighthood being thrown open to all whose valour and merit entitled them to the honour. Up to this time the privilege had been hereditary, but henceforward a man raised to knighthood was equal with the lords of the soil in position and in dignity. In his moral standing he was often superior to the hereditary knight, as his title depended on personal merit.

We cannot pause over the magnificent pageants which make the days of chivalry so picturesque a period of history. Accounts of tournaments, of minstrelsy, of heraldry, and of the kindred arts, must be sought elsewhere—we can glance only at the religious side of the scene. The training of a knight and his reception into the highest grade of chivalry bear many points of resemblance to that undergone by candidates for religious profession. The noble youth began his chivalric education by being placed as a page in the household of some famed knight or courtly bishop. He was then taught every gentlemanly art and accomplishment—riding, tilting, and management of arms—while solid grounding in letters was by no means as rare as some would have us imagine. Courtesy, obedience, dignified self-restraint were sternly inculcated. If the young probationer passed through this time with credit, he was raised to the rank of squire, when his course of exercise became more severe, and the serious work of a military life began. Long and tried service, some act of special bravery or deed of self-denying heroism, entitled him to the honour of knighthood, which was occasionally given without ceremony on the battlefield, but more usually by a distinctly religious office. The knight-elect made a general confession of his lifetime, and spent the preceding days in fasting and prayer. On the eve of the great day the young aspirant to knighthood kept the vigil of arms in the church. In the morning he was clad in pure white raiment, heard Mass, and communicated. His sword was placed on the altar and there blessed. After an examination into his fitness for the honour, the knight-elect took a solemn oath of fealty to God and His Church and of loyalty to his sovereign, promising respect to women, relief to the suffering, and the maintenance of justice by righting human wrongs. He was then clad with the insignia of his rank; his gilded spurs were buckled to his heels, his sword was girded on, he received his shield and lance, and was dubbed a knight in the name of God and of the warrior saints, Michael and George. The kiss of peace, or accolade, terminated the ceremony.

Like every other institution which has human beings for its members, chivalry was subject to abuses, and often fell below its lofty aims. But it must be judged by what it did rather than what it failed to do. It turned rough and brutal warriors into courteous and high-minded gentlemen. Few nobler characters can be read of in history than such men as Bertrand du Guesclin, Tancred of Tiberias, Simon de Montfort the elder, Garcilaso de la Vega, the soldier poet and friend of St. Francis Borgia, not to speak of the warrior saints, Louis of France and Ignatius Loyola. It rave women a nobler part to play in social life, and on its most religious side it gave rise to the Military Orders, which so long were the glory of the Church.

Knights Hospitallers

The earliest Religious Order to combine the military with the monastic duties was that of the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. They date back to 1048, when some merchants of Amalfi obtained permission of the Mohammedan Caliph of Jerusalem to build a hospital for pilgrims in honour of St. John the Baptist. When the Crusaders had taken Jerusalem, and the necessity arose of providing for the defence of the Holy City, many of the knights stayed behind when the main body of the army returned home, and entering among the Hospitallers gave a military character to the Order. When Pope Pascal II. approved the Institute in 1113, it was as a Military Religious Order, and the protection of pilgrims was added to their duties. Commanderies, as their communities were called, were established in all ports on the route to the Holy Land.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

The Religious were grouped into three ranks. The Chaplains or Priests, the Knights, and the Brothers Servants-at-arms. All alike served the sick and the poor in the hospitals, and wonderful tales are told of their heroic charity. With the same magnificent self-sacrifice they would throw themselves on the enemy and conquer or die. After some time, the order spread so rapidly that it was divided into "Languages," corresponding to the principal nations which had contributed members. The whole Order was governed by a Grand Master. An assistant presided over each language. The distinctive dress of the Hospitallers was a red surcoat, with the white eight-pointed Maltese cross on the left shoulder.

As long as the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem lasted, these knights were its chief support. At the fatal battle of Tiberias, in 1187, the Grand Masters of both the great military Orders were taken prisoners, as well as King Guy of Jerusalem, and a great number of knights were slain. But the survivors rendered signal service throughout the Third Crusade. When, however, Jerusalem had to be evacuated, they settled at Acre, which King Richard gave them. Here they remained a hundred years, exercising the most liberal hospitality to pilgrims, and defending them from both Turks and Saracens. When the Seljukian Turks fell, the Saracens attacked and took Acre after a desperate siege. A boatful only of knights Escaped. They took refuge in Cyprus, where the Order again began to flourish. The Ottoman Turks, after conquering on land, began, in the fourteenth century, to form a naval power, and the knights found themselves forced to do the same. A siege of Rhodes by the Hospitallers ended in the capitulation to them of that island and of seven others, 1310. Rhodes was fortified, and the knights ruled there over a peaceful and prosperous people for two hundred years. They endeavoured to keep the Mediterranean free from pirates, and undoubtedly they served as a barrier to the advance of the Turks. They were, however, finally defeated. Rhodes was forced to capitulate on honourable terms, and the knights retired to Malta in 1523.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

Knights Templars

The Knights Templars, like the Hospitallers, were founded in Jerusalem. Nine noble Frenchmen formed themselves into a community, taking the ordinary religious vows, but adding to them the duty of defending the Holy Land. Their rule was drawn up by St. Bernard, and their name arose from their first dwelling lying close to the Temple. For a time they were more famous than the Hospitallers themselves, their numbers were higher, and they enjoyed greater privileges. They were exempt from all episcopal control, being subject to the Pope alone. Each commandery had the right to have within its precincts its own church or chapel, served by its own private chaplain, all such chapels enjoying the privilege of sanctuary. The Templars, like the Hospitallers, were governed by a Grand Master, but their sub-divisions were "provinces," not "languages." The Knight Templar must be a noble by birth; but gentlemen, craftsmen, retainers, and others were admitted among the ranks of the Brothers Servants-at-Arms. Their life was austere, their devotion to the sick tender and generous; but their valour was their grandest feature. They formed what was probably the finest body of soldiers the world has ever seen, and it was their proud boast that the heart of a coward had never beat beneath the red cross and white mantle of a Templar. They kept up their splendid reputation as long as fighting was needed, but when the Crusades were over, the Templars dispersed throughout Europe. Their distinctive work was gone, and their end was very sad.

Their privileges, their enormous riches, and their somewhat arrogant assumption of unequalled prowess, had early awakened jealousy. It was a disastrous day that saw the Hospitallers and Templars in the field wasting their prodigious valour against one another. But as time went on other and more serious questions arose. Justly or not, they were charged with odious crimes, and the Popes had on more than one occasion to complain of their insubordination to orders. Early in the fourteenth century, Philip the Fair ascended the French throne. His hostility to the Templars soon became public; his motive was probably an envious craving for their wealth. The opportunity of proceeding against them was given by two Templars, who, under examination for various crimes, to save themselves offered to supply the king with important information about the Order. They volunteered statements which, if true, would have proved the knights to be guilty of heresy, immorality, and other capital crimes. Philip gave secret orders for every Templar in his kingdom to be arrested on the same day, and to be examined by the Inquisition of the country. The Pope, Clement V., to protect the Order and take the affair into his own hands, suspended the powers of the French inquisitors, and appointed his own. The Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, and the Master of Normandy, Geoffrey de Charney, under torture acknowledged the charges, then retracted, again acknowledged them, probably with a hope of escaping punishment; for as soon as they knew they would be imprisoned for life, they once more declared the charges to be false. The French king the next day, before the Pope could possibly know the result of the trial, had the two men burned to death. Accusations began to pour in from all sides, and the Pope then restored their powers to the inquisitors of France. His own, however, continued their investigations. The French tribunal burned fifty-four knights for heresy in 1310.

During this time the prosecutions were going on in the other European countries. Very few trials seem to have been held in Germany. In England comparatively few were found guilty. It is rather a suspicious fact that by far the most serious charges were made and the greatest number punished in France, where the sovereign was most bitter against the Order.

In 1310 the General Council of Vienne was called. The Fathers met, however, only in 1311. As a number of Templars had been proved innocent, the Pope would not condemn the whole body, but it was agreed that the Order should be suppressed as a matter of prudence. The avaricious greed of Philip was disappointed, as the Pope adjudged the possessions of the Order to the Hospitallers, reserving a fair proportion for the innocent members.

Teutonic Knights

A third military Order must be noticed. The Teutonic Knights, so called because founded by merchants from Lubeck and Bremen, had the same object as the Hospitallers and observed almost the same rule. Their distinctive dress was the white mantle with a black cross. They were never as numerous as the members of the other Orders, and at first were confined to Acre, where they had been instituted in 1190. Thirty-five years later they withdrew to North Germany, where they carried on a warfare, sometimes called a Crusade, against the Pagan Russians and Poles. Thus they acquired large possessions and founded the Duchy of Prussia, which had many dependent commanderies, each with its wide estates. The Order lost its territories when the last Grand Master, Albert of Brandenburg, became a Protestant, secularized its possessions, and made them hereditary in his family.

II. Religious Orders

The great changes which came over Europe in consequence of the multiplication of towns or communes wrought corresponding changes in the form of religious life professed in the Middle Ages. The simple country folk, no longer grouped round the great monasteries, which gave them all the assistance they needed for this world and the next, were fast gathering into towns where they could not be reached by the cloistered monks. Crowded together in foul and narrow streets, struggling to maintain themselves in ways unknown to their forefathers, these poor people soon learned to fear that frightful scourge of the Middle Ages, known as the plague. Leprosy, too, was rife among them, perhaps brought home by the Crusaders, certainly increased and encouraged by the dirt and darkness of the filthy homes. Ignorance would grow apace now the people were at a distance from their former teachers, and carelessness about religion would be the necessary result. To meet the new needs, there arose new Religious Orders, more numerous than of old, as the wants of the poor were more various. The one great ancient Order, the Benedictine, which had filled the whole scene in the earlier and simpler days, continued and still continues its mission of affording silent solitudes for prayer and study to those called to its peaceful cloisters.

Contemplative Orders

Several Orders came into being in the later part of the eleventh and the early part of the twelfth centuries, which partook of the nature of the older congregation, many of them adopting the rule of St. Benedict, with modifications suited to the new mode of life. Such were the Camaldolese hermits, founded in 1023 by St. Romuald, and the monks of Vallombrosa, a similar institute, which had St. John Gualbert as founder, 1073.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame


More widely spread than either of these were the Cistercians, founded by St. Robert of Molesme, who with a few fervent young monks started a reform in a monastery at Citeaux. The greatest glory of this Order is St. Bernard. He entered in 1113, at a time when the abbey was reduced to the direst distress. The abbot, St. Stephen Harding, an Englishman, who had given offence to the, Court of Burgundy by opposing the constant visits of the nobles to the cloister, was made to feel their displeasure. No more alms were sent and no new subjects presented themselves. St. Stephen's trust in God met with a magnificent reward. St. Bernard, with nearly thirty other young men—four of his own brothers among the number—arrived at the gates and asked admission to the Order. They were all of noble Burgundian families, and their fervour soon restored the prospects of the congregation. Two years later, St. Bernard was sent to found the monastery of Clairvaux. The fame of his disciples' and his own preaching brought immense numbers into the cloister. At first the austere character of his virtue made his rule a hard one; but supernatural lessons of gentleness softened his zeal into tender charity for natures less vigorous than his own. He had as great influence outside his monastery as within. He was called oil to draw up the rule for the Knights Templars. His persuasion brought the Kings of France and England and the Emperor of Germany to recognise Innocent II. as the lawful Pope instead of the usurping Anacletus. The antipope was supported by William, Duke of Aquitaine, who was suddenly converted during a mass celebrated by St. Bernard, who two years later induced the successor of Anacletus to lay down his pretensions and to strip himself of his insignia at the feet of Innocent II., 1130. The unhappy schism was thus terminated after having lasted about eight years.

St. Bernard.


Pope Eugenius III., formerly a monk of Clairvaux, who consulted St. Bernard on all occasions, set the saint the task of preaching the Second Crusade. St. Bernard's exhortations were accompanied by so marvellous a series of miracles that the story of his journey reads almost like a chapter of St. Matthew. Vast numbers offered themselves and took the cross. When St. Bernard reached Spires, the Emperor Conrad took him to the cathedral. The choir was chanting the "Salve Regina," and, as they finished, the saint exclaimed in a transport of devotion: "O Clemens! O Pia! O Dulcis Virgo Maria!" words which ever since have been joined to the Antiphon. The Crusade was a miserable failure, and St. Bernard was fiercely attacked as having been the cause of the loss of so many lives. He justified himself by pointing out that the conduct of the Crusaders had drawn down on them the anger of God. His apology was accompanied by a startling miracle of recovered sight, which silenced for a time his accusers.

All difficult questions seem to have been submitted to St. Bernard's decision. He it was who examined the writings of Abelard, and pointed out their errors, and who at Rheims convinced Gilbert, Bishop of Poitiers, of erroneous teaching on the subject of the Blessed Trinity. Gilbert showed magnanimous humility by submitting to the decision and destroying his own writings. When Peter of Bruys was spreading error throughout France, St. Bernard's saintly eloquence stemmed the tide of evil and brought back vast numbers to the Church. When some intemperate zealots incited the populace to the massacre of the Jews, St. Bernard stood forth as their protector. "Slay them not, lest My people forget," was his favourite text. His last act was one of mercy. Fierce contests tore the city of Metz. The saint, already on the verge of the grave, caused himself to be carried thither, and his dying voice restored peace to the inhabitants. On August 20, 1153, St. Bernard died at the age of seventy-three.

St. Bernard is classed among the greatest of mystical theologians; his works are all full of a tender piety that has won for him the love and admiration not only of his contemporaries, but of all succeeding ages. His hymns overflow with heartfelt devotion, the "Jesu dulcis Memoria" being the best known. His writings, which fill several large volumes, have from their excellence and method caused him to be ranked among the Fathers of the Church. After St. Bernard's days, the Cistercians almost rivaled the earlier Benedictine reforms of St. Maur and of Cluny in the number and fervour of their houses. Upwards of two thousand existed when the Reformation cane to sweep them and many others from the face of Europe.

Rivaling the Cistercians in fervour were the Carthusians, founded in 1086 by St. Bruno of Cologne, in the frightfully desolate valley of La Chartreuse, whence the Order takes its name. There were also several congregations of Regular Canons introduced at this time. The earliest was started by St. Peter Damian, under the rule of St. Augustine. The Norbertines or Premonstratensians made another congregation of the same nature. The object was to group the canons of a cathedral into a Religious body for the sake of greater perfection of life. These institutes were widely adopted.

Another group of Orders sprang up under the patronage of Our Blessed Lady. Such were the Gilbertines; the Carmelites, or Hermits of Mount Carmel, who, after the Saracens had taken Palestine, migrated to Europe; and the Servites, who specially honour the dolours of Mary. The Servites were founded by seven merchants of Florence in the thirteenth century.

Active Orders

The special needs of the time gave rise to yet another class of institutes, those whose members devoted themselves to active works of charity. We have already spoken of the military monks. Few combats occurred between Christians and Mohammedans without prisoners being captured. Two Orders, those of Our Lady of Mercy and the Trinitarians, were founded to bring redemption to these unfortunates, whose cruel captivity was a great temptation to give up their faith.

But the typical medieval religious were the friars, who did not, like the monks, live in an enclosed monastery. They came and went among those who had need of them. The prison, the battlefield, the lazar-house, and the hovels of the plague stricken—these were the cloister of the mendicant friars, and the scenes of their prayers and sacrifices. Foremost among the four congregations classed under the name are the Franciscans and the Dominicans, the others being the Carmelites and the Servites.

St. Francis of Assisi.


The Franciscan Friars, founded between 1204 and 1226 by St. Francis of Assisi, were "the providence of the poor," and a salutary example of mortification and poverty, in an age marked by an unbridled greed for pleasure and display. St. Francis was born at Assisi in 1182, and showed so great an aptitude for learning French that his own name of Bonaventure was dropped for that of Il Francese, the little Frenchman. He was a gay spendthrift, and not much of a scholar, but even in his vainest days he showed a tender compassion towards the poor and suffering. In one of the town feuds, so common in those days, Francis was captured and carried off to Perugia, where he was imprisoned with several others during two years, his simple faith and manly cheerfulness serving to make the trial endurable to his companions as well as to himself. The frivolity of his life came home to him in those days of suffering, and an illness which followed his liberation completed his determination to live as a Christian should who realized the life to come.

He gave up his gay clothes, his wasteful ways, and spent the hours once given to idle sports in prayer and penance. He felt that God was asking something from him, but at first he did not recognize in what way. A vision bade him turn his thoughts towards repairing God's Church. Taking the words literally, Francis looked out for a ruinous building on which to bestow his alms. Seeing that the old church of St. Damian needed restoration, he set about procuring the means. He sold his horse and some of his father's merchandise. This action and the change in Francis's life so angered his father, who was a worldly-minded man, that he locked up his son in a cellar, and for some months tried by harsh treatment to conquer his resolution. Francis would not give up what he felt was the call of God. When released by his mother, Francis went before the bishop and formally renounced his inheritance and his right to be regarded as his father's son and heir, and declared his wish of belonging alone to his Father in heaven. Henceforth he devoted himself to the service of the poor and suffering. But he also begged for and toiled at the rebuilding of St. Damian's Church. Then he undertook the same office for St. Mary of the Angels, a chapel on a little corner of land (Portiuncula) belonging to the Benedictines.

Disciples began to gather round the young saint, and the Benedictines gave him the Portiuncula with its chapel. Here St. Francis built his first convent, the model for later houses, a little dwelling not much more than a hut of wood and mud. The friars lived in the strictest poverty, and spent their days among the poor. When the Rule. was approved, in 1210, by Pope Innocent III., numbers begun to flock to the new institute. Then missionary work among the heathen was undertaken. The first five who started were martyred in Morocco by the Turks. St. Francis himself went to Egypt and Palestine, but beyond securing for his friars the privilege of guarding the Holy Places, some of which they still hold, he effected nothing. Two years before his death the saint, during an ecstasy, received the sacred Stigmata, or participation in the Five Wounds of his Divine Master. Worn out with the ardour of his love of God, this great saint, whose sweet and loving nature was stamped upon his teaching, which has come down to us in numberless anecdotes and in touching hymns, died on October 4, 1226.

With the assistance of St. Clare, a noble lady of Assisi, St. Francis had also founded an Order for women, equally austere with that of the friars. The nuns were cloistered, for the days when women might have the privilege of sharing in apostolic works among the poor, the ignorant, and the suffering were yet far off.

St. Clare


The spread of the Franciscan Order was one of the most marvellous features of this age of great virtues and great vices. In the next century, when the terrible plague known as the Black Death desolated Europe, it is said that no less than a quarter of a million of Friars Minor alone succumbed to its attack. For very many years, however, the great usefulness of the Order was hindered by contests among the friars, arising out of the extreme simplicity of their Rule—some interpreting it one way, and some another. In spite of these disputes, happily quelled in the end, the Order has continued to spread, and at the present day is one of the most populous of institutes. Perhaps not the least useful part of the work done was due to the Tertiaries, men and women living in the world, but observing a mitigated rule and sharing the spirit of the Franciscan friars as far as their state allowed. Thus they avoided extravagant expenditure on clothes, food, dwelling, and entertainments, and devoted considerable time to the care of the poor and the sick. What was of no less importance in those quarrelsome days, they forgave their enemies, and endeavoured to restore peace, so often endangered by party strifes. The instruction of the poor, too, was another work of mercy to which they dedicated themselves. In imitation of the Franciscan Tertiaries, other Orders also began to affiliate lay members. Thus was society leavened with piety and charity, and Christian social virtue showed itself in some of its most lovely forms.

Not less famed than the Franciscans or Grey Friars are the Black Friars of St. Dominic. This saint was a Spaniard of old Castilian blood. His ardent piety and penetrating intellect made him renowned from his university days. Palencia (transferred to Salamanca) had the honour of claiming him among its students. While he was still young, the Bishop of Osma enrolled him among his canons, and by his aid succeeded in introducing the Rule of St. Augustine into the Chapter of which St. Dominic was soon named prior. The next bishop, Diego de Ozevedo, when charged by the King of Spain with some important political missions, took with him the youthful superior. They had to traverse the South of France, then a prey to the Albigensian heresy, with its attendant corruption of manners. The two Spaniards, as soon as their duties were over, went to Rome and told the Pope of their desire to give themselves up to a life of cloistered holiness. But Pope Innocent III. sent them back to labour against the rapidly spreading heresy. As they journeyed, they. met the papal legates charged with the duty of preaching to the Albigenses. Finding that they had had no success, and seeing them surrounded with pomp and luxury, Dominic and Diego exhorted them to abandon worldly trappings and to preach, as our Lord Himself did, in poverty and humility. Their advice was taken, and good fruit was reaped. The story of the heresy has been already given. When the Bishop of Osma died, St. Dominic continued to preach alone. Ten years of incessant labour and many marvellous conversions followed, but progress was slow. It was about this time that the Rosary, revealed by Our Lady to St. Dominic, began to be used. Then Dominic began to gather disciples around him. His first convent for men was at Toulouse. Shortly after he founded another at La Prouille for women rescued from the heretics. This was the beginning of the Second Order of St. Dominic, that for nuns.

St. Dominic.


St. Dominic went to Rome to solicit the approval of his Order. The Fourth Council of Lateran had decided that no new Orders were to be founded; but, seeing the good St. Dominic was doing, Pope Innocent III. gave the desired permission, provided the friars followed an existing rule. St. Dominic chose that of St. Augustine, with certain modifications to adapt it to the new mode of life the friars were to observe. St. Dominic continued his labours in preaching, and trained his religious to do the like. He also occupied the office of inquisitor, or judge in cases of heresy, an act that has brought on him and his Order, which retained the office for many years, a vast amount of abuse. The special work of instructing the people in their religion has given the Dominicans the distinctive name of Friars Preachers. St. Dominic founded as many as sixty-five convents of his Order, several of the chief being in the great university towns, notably Bologna and Paris. These were grouped into eight provinces, in which the special work confided by St. Dominic to his religious, the preaching of missions among the people, was pursued with great zeal. St. Dominic died in 1221.

The spread of the Dominican Order was as rapid as that of the Franciscans. Whenever one of their great preachers appeared, crowds flocked to hear him, and it rarely happened that a sermon was preached without many vocations following. When Blessed Jordan of Saxony had appeared in a town, the first thought was to procure material to make habits, so great was the number of those who crowded into the Order wherever he gave a course of instructions. The ordinary supply in the conventual stores would soon have run short.

It has sometimes been stated that none but bishops preached during the centuries in which the Friars Preachers won such repute for themselves. This must be doubted, if we consider the minute directions given to parish priests respecting the instructions they were to give to their people. But it was a novelty to the people to see men in the garb of monks preaching in the public places, and the evident austerity of the new teachers won them a ready hearing in most quarters, though a decided opposition awaited them in others. The special glory of the Dominican Order lies in the mighty defence it has afforded to the teaching of the Church. "And," as Dr. Sheehan finely says, "equipped with all the knowledge of the sacred science, and with eloquence, taught not by the arts of the rhetorician, but by the Spirit of God, the Friars-Preachers for six hundred years have been the promoters of Divine science amongst the faithful; and preaching, as is meet, was supported by prayer—and that prayer, the golden chain that links every soul that uses it to the foot of Mary's throne in heaven. And the voice of eloquence and the voice of prayer commingled have been the all-powerful weapons with which the children of St. Dominic have combated and vanquished the enemies of Christ, even to our day." To the Dominicans learning and prayer were the necessary means of success, and their rule prescribed both. In St. Dominic's day learning was sought at the great fountain-heads of knowledge, the universities.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

Towns and Universities

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

I. Towns and Guilds.

The story of the growth of towns and of the civic republics, which was so marked a feature of European history from the twelfth century to the fifteenth century, hardly belongs to the history of the Church. But as the Church has to deal with men as she finds them, and as so many of the characteristic institutions of the period owe their existence to this new power in the political world, it will not be possible to pass the matter over in silence.

Towns had been numerous and flourishing in Roman times. They were mostly due to the military colonies planted along the lines of the great roads, and were free and self-governing. But the Teutonic invaders, accustomed to a roving life, would not submit to being confined in cities, and they set up their homesteads in the open country. As we have seen, these grew into fortresses, whence every lord warred upon his neighbours. But this feudal warfare, added to the invasions of the troubled ninth and tenth centuries, drew the people together for the sake of protection and mutual support. A royal dwelling, the seat of a bishop, a river confluence with its facilities for trade, or a monastery with its immunity from war, formed the nucleus, and slowly but surely the town grew. Increasing peril called for fortifications, and a wall of defence would be thrown around the clustered dwellings. The townsfolk at first consisted of the same two classes to be found outside the city walls—the freeman and the serf. The former gradually developed into the trader or the merchant, the latter into the craftsman or artisan. But they were on the same footing as the country folk, being regarded as vassals, absolutely at the mercy of the lord, lay or ecclesiastical, in whose domain the town lay.

The first step towards independence was usually the erection of a belfry, whose bell in a moment of common danger would call together the towns folk or the scattered population outside. Thus a rude form of militia was established, whose duty was the protection of the rights of the townsfolk. The next step in advance was the result of the dependence of the lord on his vassals for service and money. These lords, being most of them feudal vassals themselves, had to meet the demands of their own suzerains for subsidies, and had no resource but to get the same from their sub-vassals. But the banded town vassals soon learned their power, and would refuse to grant the money unless in exchange for some coveted privilege. Such would be exemption from certain taxes, the right of holding markets, or of gathering rents, or of imposing tolls. These favours would be conceded willingly or by constraint, as the case might be, and were embodied in charters. From the moment the first was gained, complete freedom was only a matter of time. The struggle between the lord and the vassal town was often long and fierce, but the process went surely on, the burghers gradually emancipating themselves from the power of the nobles.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

As their freedom increased and commerce brought prosperity, a body of men would be chosen to act as intermediary between the lord and the town. Thus the office of magistrate, mayor, sheriff, councillor, and treasurer came into existence, and the elements of early town life were fairly started. The name commune came into use for these free cities in the eleventh century. In Germany, the Franconian emperors founded many towns as a set-off to the power of their turbulent feudal vassals, and a period of strife between the nobles and the towns was inaugurated, Naturally, the victories of the cities were greatest where the sovereign had least power, hence the marvellous development of the maritime towns on the Mediterranean, the North Sea, and the Baltic.

During the fourteenth and succeeding centuries, the southern cities grew into republics, subjecting the neighbouring territory to their sway and establishing their authority over tributary towns. Such republics were Venice, Florence, and Padua on the plain of Lombardy. Marseilles, Amalfi, and Barcelona long contended with these and with Constantinople for the mastery of the Mediterranean. The Crusades gave the palm for a time to Venice.

On the northern seas, the great trading cities united into a league (Hansa), having Lubeck as its commercial centre, at least ninety marts entering into the confederation. From London and Antwerp, on opposite sides of the sea, to Novgorod in Russia, a chain of maritime or fluviatile merchant-towns kept the whole trade of Northern Europe under the control of the Hansa.

Foremost in promoting the growth of towns, and through them the development of the middle classes, were the great medieval institutions, known as guilds. As trade increased and the Crusades brought new products into Europe, new industries were taken in hand. Merchants in wool, or silk, or sugar, or gems, banded together for protection in their special trade. The workers in similar industries did the same. Thus arose guilds or confederations of men having interests in common, and the whole population of towns was enrolled in one or another, according to their employment. Occasionally all the guilds of a town would form a league in opposition to some formidable enemy—either the neighbouring ruler or a rival city. But at first each band was distinct, though two great classes were marked, the Merchants' Guilds commanding the money and the trade, and the Crafts' Guilds embodying the art and the produce. In course of time the latter overpowered the former.

Each guild had its own body of officers, its halls of meeting, its rules and customs. Admission to the Crafts' Guild was as important an epoch in the life of a youthful artisan of the Middle Ages as was that of a high-born lad to the honours of knighthood. He, too, had past a term of training, called in his case an apprenticeship, during which, under the care of a past master, he had learned his trade. This period over, he became a guildsman, a free citizen, could earn money, and if gifted or enterprising he could push himself on to the rank of master. The guild, however, was responsible for its members. Not only was the quality of the craftsman's work looked into, but his moral conduct was observed: an unskilful or an ill-conducted artisan was always liable to be expelled from his guild—a serious misfortune, as the guild officials monopolized all produce, found markets for the goods, and regulated all the conditions of sale.

Every medieval institution had its religious side; it could not have existed without it in days when men, whatever their failings, had an intense realization of the worth of their souls. There was then no line marking off political and social life from religion, but every walk in life was elevated by some supernatural thought and consecrated by the Church's blessing. So each guild had its patron saint, its feast-day, its charitable objects, its own chaplain, and, if not its own church, at least a guild chapel. For instance, in the magnificent cathedral of Antwerp, whose six aisles run parallel to a glorious nave of majestic proportions, there still exist no less than seventy guild chapels. The statue of the patron saint occupied a canopied niche on one of the great columns, and an enclosed space marked off the property of each confederation. Their patronal feast was celebrated with great pomp. Confession, Communion, Mass heard in common, often one for the living members and one for the dead, would begin the festival. A repast in common marked the day, alms were collected for the support of the sick, the widows, and the orphans. The education of the guildsmen's children was not forgotten. The guild always provided for the funerals of its members and for Masses for the dead. On solemn occasions all the guilds marched in procession, headed by their splendid banners or gonfalons. These were heavy with the gorgeous embroidery of the period, and glittering with gems. The summit of the pole bore a massive silver statue of the patron saint. Round the foot of the statue were hung the medals won by its members in the various competitions which gave impetus to the work of the guilds. When Edward III. of England received the homage of the Flemish burghers as their suzerain, in place of Philip of France, whom they considered perjured, the guilds defiled before him, and in token of alliance the king laid his hand on each great banner as it was lowered before him.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

It is probable that artisans never worked under more favourable conditions than those the medieval guild afforded them. It is certain that the handicrafts were never carried to greater perfection. The characteristics of all work dating from these centuries are boldness of conception, durability of material, solidity in structure, and exquisite delicacy of finish. One example of such work must suffice—that offered by the study of some great cathedral of the Middle Ages. With the growth of the towns, the crafts passed beyond the precincts of the monasteries, where they had had their earliest home. To the monks all the most ancient ecclesiastical buildings are due; but now the task of providing each city with its church naturally fell to the bishop. Thus we have a long series of episcopal builders, among whom Albertus Magnus, the Dominican, Richard Poor of Salisbury, and William of Wykeham hold no insignificant place. These master-builders had at their command the services of the Grafts' Guilds, and the churches they erected are universally acknowledged to be the most perfect ecclesiastical structures ever raised.

Architecture developed rapidly, especially in France, Belgium, and England, each nation adopting the same general idea, but imprinting something characteristic on the prevailing style. The name Gothic has been applied to the architecture of the Middle Ages, the most marked of its features being the pointed or ogival arch. No sketch could do justice to these glorious structures, their conception was so magnificent, their details so harmonious. Boldly beautiful, every line speaks of the faith which inspired the whole, of the devotion which laid genius and patient toil at the feet of the Lord who dwelt within, and whose most sacred mysteries are recalled by the very form of the edifice in its whole and in its parts. Thus the church was a treasury of doctrine, of moral teaching, of art, and of science. Its plan was a cross, its spire pointed silently but eloquently from the earth to the sky above; its windows full of storied glass, and its multitude of frescoes, kept the sacred pictures of the Scriptures or of the lives of God's saints before the minds of men. Its commanding form, towering over the clustered dwellings around, was more than a type of what the faith was in medieval times. It was absolutely the centre of each man's life. There every phase of his existence was blessed by God's ministers, and in his will he pointed out the spot where he should lie, the shrine before which candles should be burned or Masses be said for his soul's health; or he provided for a chantry to be erected and an endowment chartered that Masses might be offered for him and his to the end of time.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

Not only did architecture flourish, but every craft that could contribute something to the splendour of the Church or the majesty of her ceremonies; sculpture, carving in wood, metal work, glass and fresco painting, mosaic inlays, all were brought to wonderful perfection. Bell-founding made prodigious strides, and bells bore on their legended rims the praises of God or of His saints. Nor must we forget needlework, which in those centuries rose to the dignity of an art. The gorgeous vestments which have escaped destruction at the hands of the sixteenth-century Vandals testify to the loving toil and fertile imagination which female devotion consecrated to the service of the Church during the age of Faith. And, as a fitting complement to so much external beauty in divine worship, Christian poets dedicated the noblest conceptions of their genius to enhancing the glories of the Church's Liturgy. The finest hymns the Church uses date from this period: the "Dies Irae," "Veni, Sancte Spiritus," "Stabat Mater," "Lauda Sion," "Jesu dulcis Memoria," and many others, not to mention the glorious compositions of St. Thomas Aquinas, which are still on the lips of all children of Holy Church.

Thus the cathedral or abbey church, with its gorgeous ceremonial, met every craving of the human heart for beauty, sublimity, poetry, music, and song. The grand pageants of the chief festivals "sent a ray of light and gladness through the lives of the great mass of the people, whose lot is at best full of hardness, dullness, and sorrow, and filled the hearts and minds of medieval lovers of the beautiful with sights and sounds which, unlike many a more modern festive scene, left behind no bitter after-taste of evil to mar the remembered pleasure.

II. Universities and Schools

In the transformation of European society which, during the twelfth and succeeding centuries, took place under the influence of the Church, we have seen how chivalry gradually though surely changed lawless freebooters into Christian warriors; how guilds acted in training craftsmen to habits of steady industry. One other important point has yet to be dealt with, the education of the people, both high and low.

When men ceased to look upon war as the business of life, the craving arose for intellectual culture, and what had hitherto seemed but a monkish accomplishment gradually began to be sought for by all classes alike. The Crusades were very largely instrumental in bringing about this result, as the rough western warrior, when brought into relationship with his eastern enemy, often found himself his inferior in learning and accomplishments. The Crusades, too, brought back into Europe the correct version of Aristotle, whose works were to exercise so powerful an influence on the studies of medieval Europe. Mathematics and medicine, also, were imported into the west, as well as the means of more luxurious living.

All through the history of the Church, we see that the first care of her pastors is to provide learning and teachers for the young. Every monastery had its school, every bishop his seminary, where lads of all ranks, but most frequently those from the peasant classes, were taught. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries these seminaries attained an immense development. Certain among them drew vast numbers of scholars, attracted by the fame of the teaching there given. Such was the monastic school of Bee, of which Lanfranc and St. Anselm were noted teachers. Often the monastic scholars would be sent to join the studies of the seminarists. Sometimes it was the reverse, the monastery had the famous teachers, and all flocked thither. Very early in the existence of such schools lay students would beg to be admitted; the monastery would then often provide them with lodging. But as the numbers grew they overflowed into the town, which before long swarmed with young men clamouring to be taught. Poor, ill-fed, and wretchedly lodged by night, they crowded round their teachers by day, congregating wherever there was space enough to hold them. At first a church porch, a monastic yard, sometimes an open square, would be their lecture-hall. The Pope, or an emperor, or a king, would grant a charter; the school became a university; buildings would be erected, and a regular course of lectures given. When a student wished to gain great proficiency, he would go from one university to another, to study what was best taught in each. Thus, to barbarian invasions there succeeded a migration of thousands of scholastic youths, eager for learning, moving across Europe from one seat of lore to another. Oxford, by no means one of the largest of university cities, had at one time as many as thirty thousand students. Paris had fifty thousand, and so on. Naturally, the events taking place in the world around would have influence over the numbers flocking to any particular university. For instance, the Hundred Years' War between England and France stopped the migration of English scholars to Paris.

The education of St. Louis IX.


A university properly so called offered to all corners tuition in all the sciences. The ordinary course comprised the Seven Liberal Arts, which were also taught in the lesser schools, of which we have still to speak. These arts were grammar, logic, and rhetoric, called the Trivium, which had first to be mastered. Then came the Quadrivium, or geometry, astronomy, arithmetic, and music. After these were added medicine, law, and theology, and the whole course often concluded with metaphysics, natural history, and languages, Latin being always taught, Greek being a later addition. In the early days of the universities it took twenty years to pass through the complete series of studies; afterwards ten years were supposed to suffice. Each of the chief departments of learning was called a faculty, and its professors had the privilege of granting degrees. No one but the Pope could give this right to a university. The degree was earned by following the complete course prescribed, by a successful examination, and, in the case of the highest, by sustaining a thesis—that is, by defending a given knotty point in the subject professed against the objections of all corners. The degrees were baccalaureus, magister, and doctor. The second and third conferred the licence to teach, and were not, as now, merely a token of acquaintance with the subject. The various degrees were always given with religious ceremonies, often in the church, and by the hands of a bishop.

The whole multitude of scholars, no matter whence they came, could attend the same lectures, since all instructions were given in Latin. Thus a brotherhood of letters grew up which tended to weld together the interests of nations, and to unite men together in a way that nothing else has been able to do, except the Church of God herself, which makes all the faithful the one Body of Christ.

There were two great types among the universities, those moulded on the form established at Bologna, the others following the example of Paris. The former were frequented by men of mature years, who formed themselves into bands or groups, something after the fashion of guilds. They elected the governing body and named the rector or head of the university. Thus the students themselves formed the ruling body, the professors having the teaching only in their hands. In the second or Paris type, the professors were the rulers, sometimes aided by proctors for each nation chosen from among the students. As time went on, colleges began to be formed in the university itself; that is to say, certain bodies of students would gather round their teachers in a dwelling of their own. Magnificent buildings were erected, with church, lecture-halls, and common rooms, as well as suites of smaller apartments, affording lodging to both teachers and taught.

The college system brought more order and regularity into the university, but the general lectures began to be forsaken, each college or group of colleges having its own tutors. Each monastic Order had its own college whither its members were sent to study and obtain their degrees. One very favourite form of charitable work in the Middle Ages was to make provision for the instruction of poor scholars. Colleges were founded and endowed to afford means of education to those who could not pay their own expenses. Some of our most famous English schools—for instance, that of Winchester—owe their existence to the enlightened piety of our Catholic forefathers.

Emperors and kings often granted great privileges to the universities they had founded. This often led to unseemly strife between the students and the townsfolk. Just as often the students would fight among themselves; their nationality, the fame of rival students or of rival teachers, would be enough to turn the streets of a university town into a battle-field. Sometimes the Pope himself had to interfere before order could be restored. Stories of this kind meet us in the lives of all great medieval scholars. Even such men as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Ignatius and his companions had to suffer from the violence of university factions.

The most famous European universities were Paris, Bologna, Oxford, Salamanca, and Rome. Bologna, with the Italian universities generally, was famous for civil and canon law; Paris was the great theological university: its most famous college, the Sorbonne, still exists. This college has had a most memorable history; it will be met with more than once in this narrative.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, sixty-five universities gathered together the studious youth of Europe, but by that time they had passed from the hands of the Church to those of the State with unhappy results.

But we must not omit to say that the desire for university training quickened the appetite for learning all over Europe. Every town had its schools, in many of which the seven arts were taught; for the numberless men holding degrees could not all profess in universities, and were glad to teach in lesser schools. Even villages were not without such means of instruction. Chaucer speaks of the "litel stole" to which, "litel boke" in hand, the Jew boy of the Prioress's Tale went singing his "Alma Redemptoris," as one of a class that was familiar to all. Thus, high and low, rich and poor, shared the general ardour for letters, and all found the means at hand of satisfying their desire.

St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas.


Dominicans and Franciscans attended the universities in great numbers. Both Orders soon opened schools, and the fame of the new teachers spread far and wide. So great was their influence that Green says: "The Friars preserved the universities to the Church." This was chiefly seen in the immense strides made in the study of theology, which became the engrossing topic of scholars for upwards of three hundred years. Philosophy, the science of man, as theology is that of God, also took vast developments. Aristotle, the greatest of the old Greek philosophers, had been discredited up to the time of the Crusades, owing to the very faulty translation (the work of the Arabic and Spanish Saracens, Avicenna and Averroes), by which alone he was known in the west. But when the friars taught from the correct version brought by the Crusaders from the east, the subject acquired new lustre, and in the hands of St. Thomas Aquinas became a powerful help to the clear understanding of science in general, and of theology in particular.

Up to this time, treatises on theology had been either simple statements of the Church's teaching, or apologies—that is, discourses in which the Church's doctrines are defended against the attacks of pagans or heretics. But henceforth theology was treated as a science. The relations between the various branches of dogma were studied. The several points were classified, and the method of dealing with each laid down. It was not a question of what the Church's teaching was—no one disputed that—but the "hows and whys" of truths were studied.

Besides the two great branches of theology and philosophy, other allied sciences made great progress. Biblical research assumed wider proportions. English Franciscans produced the first concordance ever drawn up. It was printed in Oxford, and known as the "English Concordance." Oriental languages were studied with a view to Scriptural research, and the natural sciences began to receive attention. Roger Bacon, also a Franciscan, insisted on the necessity of experiments preceding statements when treating of the natural kingdoms, a method which many conceive to have originated centuries later with his more famous namesake, Francis Bacon, the author of the "Novum Organum."

Medieval theologians may be considered as forming two classes—those who studied theology as a science for its own sake, and those who studied it for the sake of advancing in holiness. The former are called Scholastics or Schoolmen, because of their labours taking place in the great university schools; the second were Mystics, mysticism being the science of the spiritual life. The greatest of the Mystics were St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, St. Bernard, and two monks of the monastery of St. Victor, named Hugh and Robert.

St. Thomas and St. Louis


Among Scholastics, no names are so renowned as those belonging to the Mendicant Orders. The Franciscans have Alexander of Hales, Roger Bacon, Duns Scotus (all from the British Isles), and the great St. Bonaventure. The Dominicans claim as their special glory Blessed Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas, called "the Angelic Doctor," who ranks as the prince of theologians. Pope Leo XIII. named him patron of Catholic schools.

Ecclesiastical history hardly presents a more splendid figure than this mighty genius. Everything about him was framed on magnificent lines. By birth he was allied with the greatest of European sovereigns, Frederic Barbarossa, St. Louis of France, and Ferdinand of Castile, and with the bravest of Christian warriors, the Crusaders Tancred and Bohemond. His own endowments tallied with the noble stock from which he had sprung. Colossal stature, beauty of person, charm of manner, made up his outward man. An intellect as prodigious as it was clear and penetrating was enhanced in its powers by a wonderful purity of soul and love of Divine things. The rapidity of his acquisition of learning, the clearness of his conception, and his wonderful powers of retention made his progress in studies marvellously solid and brilliant.

His vocation was marked by no less grand features. He chose the poverty of a simple friar in the newly-born institute of the Dominicans in preference to the magnificent post of Abbot of Monte Cassino which was offered him, and bore with unflinching courage for upwards of two years a cruel imprisonment, which was inflicted upon him by his father and brothers, who sought thus to turn him from his resolution.

When he was released, not yet nineteen years of age, he began his career of studies at Cologne under the famous Albert the Great. With a humility equal to his marvellous mental powers, he made no show of his learning, which was already remarkable. A paper on which he had written some notes for the help of a fellow-student was taken to B. Albert, who at once saw what a master mind was concealed by the unpretending manner of the saint, and he predicted his future glory. B. Albert was called to Paris in 1245 to teach at the Dominican College of St. James. He took St. Thomas with him as his assistant. The lessons of the youthful teacher were so clear and powerful that he attracted immense crowds of learners. No master was ever more patient and painstaking than the saint whose genius had the uncommon gift of adapting its magnificent proportions to the capacity of the meanest and simplest among his scholars. Progress under him was sure and rapid.

The quarrels to which the students of the university were addicted threatened to put a stop to the lectures of the friars. First there was a terrible struggle between the Parisians and the students. Then there came a tide of abuse against the Mendicant Orders by the professors, who were jealous of their renown. But the patient dignity of the saint and the friars generally, overcame their enemies, whose writings were condemned by the Pope.

At the command of Pope Urban IV., St. Thomas, who had taken his degree of doctor with St. Bonaventure in 1257, had to leave Paris. He was to follow the Papal Court and teach wherever the Pope might be residing. The saint had many other occupations besides his lectures. He was consulted by all on points of difficulty; he was assiduous in preaching and in composing books. A great part of the night was spent by him in prayer.

The most famous book written by St. Thomas Aquinas is his "Summa Theologica," an epitome of the whole of theology, a work which is considered the most magnificent treatise on the dogmas of the Catholic Church that exists. Besides this, he wrote many other works. The "Catena Aurea" is remarkable, as it led to the establishment of the feast of Corpus Christi. The Pope wished to reward St. Thomas for this book by making him a bishop. But the saint begged the Pope to command instead that the feast of the Blessed Sacrament should he observed by the whole Church. Pope Clement IV. gladly agreed, and bade St. Thomas write the office for the day. In this work the saint poured forth the treasures of his learning and all the depths of his loving adoration of his Sacramental Lord, in words that to our own time, on Corpus Christi, we sing just as they fell from the heart and pen of this great doctor.

Overwhelmed with ceaseless toil in the schools and in the pulpit, weighed down by many bodily sufferings, St. Thomas yet became more and more absorbed in the contemplation of Divine things. Three times the Pope attempted to make him a bishop, but his distress was so great that the Holy Father desisted. Thus, in spite of his world-wide fame, the saint remained a humble friar, the edification of all, both within and without his convent, by the docile simplicity of his obedience to his superiors and to his Rule.

In 1274 Pope Gregory X. summoned St. Thomas to attend the fourteenth General Council, convened at Lyons. Though reduced to a great state of weakness, the saint set out. His strength failed him on the way, and he was borne to the Cistercian Abbey of Fossa Nuova. The touching details of his last days deserve to be thoughtfully read. With sentiments of the most sublime vet simple piety, Thomas, the greatest mind of the Middle Ages, met his death at the age of fifty. Fifty years later he was canonized.

We have had to note more than once that the military spirit so thoroughly characteristic of medieval times found a vent even in the universities. While the lay students fought out their party quarrels in the streets, or made raids on the townsfolk, the ecclesiastical section in the halls grouped itself into rival schools where sacred subjects were debated with a warmth and, it must be confessed, a passion, hardly surpassed by what went on outside. The gain to the cause of science was great, as the vehement earnestness of the combatants made them ransack heaven and earth for reasons and proofs to uphold their cause, and from the very strife of opinions the clear light of truth shone out with a brighter lustre. But there is another side to the question. Men became accustomed to reason and debate on theological questions of opinion. There was but one step to take before questions touching faith would be drawn into the disputes. Errors in doctrine might and did occasionally result. Added to this, there was a tendency to exaggeration in some of the mystical theologians, such as the German party who called themselves the "Friends of God," whose practices were out of harmony with sound principles. Thus it came about that there was an ever-increasing party of men in the universities, and outside them also, who were disposed to value their own decisions as final, and to criticize everything that did not square with their ideas. Thus was prepared afar off that spirit of revolt against authority which culminated in the Protestant so-called Reformation.

It is difficult to form a correct judgment of the Middle Ages, so strongly marked are both the good and the evil features. The truth seems to be that the vigorous character of our medieval forefathers (lid not permit of half-measures. Their virile energy turned them into magnificent warriors, glorious saints, illustrious scholars, monsters of cruelty, or prodigies of vice, as the case might he. This character seems to have been shared by all classes, for whenever, in the lives of saints or in the stories of wars, one gets a glimpse of the people, they are all of the same stamp. But all, good and bad alike, had an intense realization of the truths of faith; even the heresies of the time show the same feature from its evil side. Hence, when grace touched their hearts, those conversions so startling in their sudden earnestness and their uncompromising self-sacrifice. There may have been half-and-half natures, wavering between the two camps, but if so, they have left no mark on the pages of history, nor does it seem likely that such ever will, unless, perhaps, by toning down the lights and shadows of the ages in which they predominate with the grey hue of mediocrity.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

The Western Schism and the Renascence

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

I. Rome and Avignon.

In passing from the story of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries to that of the fourteenth and fifteenth, the transition is sharp from glory to decay. The causes are far to seek, but three may be briefly noted. First, the immense growth of the power and wealth of European nations, and the attendant luxury of living, which during these centuries resulted, through the abandonment of simple and austere forms of life, in the loss of much of the virile force and energy of character so noticeable in the earlier period. Second, the disrepute into which the Papacy fell in consequence of the disputes about the rightful occupant of the See of St. Peter. Cardinal Newman joins these two causes together when accounting for the unsuccessful attempts to organize new crusades against the Turks. He says that wealth and prosperity alienated the States from the Holy See, and made men indifferent to religion and the motives of a life of faith. Third, the spread of loose and erroneous opinions on faith and morals, noted as commencing during the previous period, but attaining enormous development in this, under the influence of what men called the "New Learning."

The Western Schism was quite the severest trial that the Church had yet encountered, perhaps the severest she has ever encountered. Persecutions had attacked her from without, heresies and schisms had shaken her from within; some of the children of the Church had brought disgrace upon her by their unworthy lives, but the Western Schism struck at the very centre of the Church's unity, the Papacy itself, and would have brought her to utter ruin had she been a human institution. The causes which led to this fatal division were numerous. The party strifes by which Italy had now been torn for centuries were more than the occasion—they fanned the flame of discord throughout the entire struggle. Then, hardly had the Church shaken herself free from the domination of Germany than she fell under that of France. At first the ascendancy of France was masked under the appearance of friendly patronage, an influence even more disastrous to the Popes than had been the tyranny and hostility of the German Emperors; for while danger and difficulty fostered a spirit of independence in the Popes, the ease and luxury which French manners and customs introduced into the papal Court, and the necessity for keeping on good terms with the French sovereigns, tended to enervate and cripple the energies of even the best intentioned of a long line of Pontiffs. When, after the cessation of the Western Schism, France came into collision with the Papacy, the affectation of patronage was exchanged for a spirit of intense antagonism to the claims of the Popes. From the throne it passed into the universities, and thence to the clergy generally, giving rise to an opposition to papal authority which goes by the name of Gallicanism.

It is a fact not often noticed, but still sufficiently curious, that, about thirty years after the Popes were thus enslaved by France, France herself fell under the galling yoke of England, and that the end of the Western Schism (the direct consequence of French influence) was separated from the final deliverance of France from England by about the same period. A still stranger coincidence occurs in the manner of their deliverance. It was by the hand of a woman that both the Church and France were saved in the moment of direst peril. Both liberators, too, died victims to the cause to which, at the call of God, they had devoted themselves. St. Catherine, in the unearthly eminence of her sanctity, laid down her life for the peace of the Church, while the Venerable Joan of Arc, in the pure beauty of her maidenhood, was betrayed, condemned, and burnt to death by her own countrymen in league with the English masters of France. Neither lived to see the victory which came none the less surely for being delayed.

But the event which actually led up to the schism was the removal of the papal residence from Rome to Avignon, a fair city in the fairest province of Southern France. When, in 1305, Clement V., a Frenchman, was elected Pope, he was induced by Philip the Fair of France not to go at once to Rome, and in 1309 to take up his abode at Avignon, which at that time belonged to Naples. Six Popes in succession, Frenchmen by birth, when elected, proceeded at once to Avignon, where French influence prevailed. The majority of the cardinals, too, were Frenchmen. Rome was abandoned to civil strife and the horrors of misgovernment by factions. The papal States were gradually lost to the Holy See, one State after another throwing off its allegiance and declaring itself independent. So great was the misery to which Rome was reduced that the bold attempt of the patriot Rienzi to restore order was favoured by Clement VI., 1347. The adventurer, tempted by his first success, wished to make himself dictator, and the Pope did not oppose his project. But his wild acts when raised to supreme power alienated his supporters, and he was forced to flee from Rome. Some years of misgovernment ensued, and Rienzi again appeared, to be hailed with mad delight. The fickle Romans, however, were soon disgusted with their idol, and during a popular tumult Rienzi's house was fired, and he perished in the flames. The Romans then thought of turning to the Pope for help. During these events, the military cardinal, Albornoz, was engaged in reconquering the papal States. But the form of government chosen by the Pope, who placed legates over the recovered provinces, displeased the people, and discontent was rife. All wanted the Popes back again, but French influence was brought to bear to prevent them from returning to Rome.

St. Catherine of Siena.


But in 1367, Urban V., in spite of the opposition of the French king, Charles V., and of the cardinals, took up his abode in Rome amid universal rejoicings. The old lawlessness, however, had too strong a hold on the population to cease all at once. Riots and seditions occurred. The Pope was told it was not safe to remain, and he took refuge once more in Avignon, where he died the next year, 1370. Sinister rumours suggested that he had been poisoned because it was known that he wished to return to Rome.

In 1371, Gregory IX. ascended the papal throne, like his predecessors, at Avignon. Italy had been for some time a prey to the depredations of bands of lawless free-lances, companies of mercenary soldiers, whose services were not just then needed by France or England, whose long warfare the peace of Bretigny had interrupted. In consequence of sonic of their misdeeds, a quarrel had arisen between the powerful city of Florence and the Pope. Eighty friendly cities joined Florence, and threatened to deluge Italy anew in blood. Every means of reconciliation was tried in vain.

Then occurred one of those remarkable episodes which show how firm, even in those days of horrible faction fights, was the hold of faith over the minds of men. St. Catherine of Siena, whose marvellous influence over the hearts of her countrymen had already been shown in healing many a feud, was asked to attempt what men had failed to do. At her bidding Florentine Guelfs and Ghibellines agreed to drop their private quarrels and to submit terms of reconciliation to the Pope at Avignon, St. Catherine being chosen as ambassador. Underhand dealings on the part of one section of the Florentines destroyed the hopes to which the gracious reception of St. Catherine by Gregory IX. had given rise, but an event of greater consequence to the Church resulted from the fervent exhortations of the saintly envoy. She induced the Pope to return to Rome, in spite of the vehement protestations of the cardinals and the entreaties of his relations.

Early in 1377 Gregory IX. reached the Eternal City. The Romans, wild with joy at the termination of what men called the Seventy Years' Captivity, greeted the Pope with enthusiastic welcome. But Rome was almost in ruins—a desolate contrast to the gay city of Avignon—the Florentine war blazed out afresh, and before long the health of the Pope gave way. St. Catherine undertook another embassy to Florence at the Pope's desire, but before she could win over the Florentines, now a prey to the utmost horrors of civil strife within and of attack from without, Gregory IX. died. The intrepid saint braved every danger, and at last had the satisfaction of seeing peace signed between Florence and the Holy See, to which meanwhile Urban VI. had succeeded under circumstances which brought about the Great Schism.

When Gregory IX. died, the College of Cardinals only numbered twenty-three members. Of these, seven French cardinals were at Avignon. The remaining sixteen, of whom five only were not French (namely, four Italians and one Spaniard, the famous Pedro de Luna), proceeded at once to the election of a new Pope. The Romans, remembering their ancient privilege of having a voice in the choice of a Pontiff who was at once their sovereign and their bishop as well as Pope, loudly clamoured for a Roman or an Italian. But the former alternative was impossible: there were only two Romans among the cardinals, one so aged and ailing that he died but a few weeks later, the other so young that he had not attained the canonical age. The French cardinals, naturally preferring Avignon to Rome, wanted to choose one of their own number, in the hope that the papal Court might again be transplanted thither. But they were not decided as to whom it should he. Feeling the necessity for immediate action, however, they came to a speedy unanimity. Their choice was Bartholomew Prignani, the Archbishop of Bari, and as he was not a cardinal, and therefore not among the electors, they sent for him. When he strove to reject the proffered responsibility, they overcame his resistance, and Prignani was declared Pope, April 9, 1378. So far all was well, but the anger of the Romans had to be faced, and no one dared announce the truth. The mob caught at a rumour which had originated, it is difficult to say how, that the aged Roman cardinal, Tebaldeschi, had been elected. Appeased for a moment, they were more infuriated when they learned what had really taken place, and the night was passed in fierce rioting. Morning, however, brought calm, and on the same day, April to, Urban VI. was enthroned. A week later, on Easter Sunday, he was solemnly crowned, all the sixteen cardinals assisting at the ceremony, Some 'of these had returned on purpose from a place of safety to which they had fled during the riots. The seven Avignon cardinals, to whom those in Rome had announced the election, held a state function, paying the customary homage to the papal escutcheon, while those in Rome did the same to the Pope in person. Then all the cardinals united in issuing circular letters to the various sovereigns stating that they had elected Bartholomew Prignani, who had taken the name of Urban VI., as successor of St. Peter.

But by Pentecost, although the cardinals again 'assembled round Urban, and celebrated the festival with him in St. Peter's, as they had done before at the Ascension, a feeling of grave dissatisfaction was rapidly gaining ground. Urban had begun much-needed reforms, but with a harshness that angered the cardinals, some of whom were among the delinquents. The Pope had, moreover, highly offended Joanna, Queen of Naples, a woman of violent character. It was feared that the stern and inflexible zeal of the new Pontiff would lead him yet further, and the cardinals thought of requiring him to abdicate on the ground that they had been intimidated in their choice. The French cardinals all immediately withdrew to Anagni, whence they tried to gain over the Italian and Spanish cardinals, even going to the length of secretly promising each the tiara if he would side with them. The trap was well baited, and not one cardinal remained faithful to Urban VI., who at once nominated twenty-six Italian cardinals. The revolted cardinals, feeling that there could be no truce now, elected as Pope, under the name of Clement VII., one of their own number, a Frenchman named Robert of Geneva, a prince more distinguished for military prowess than for priestly virtues. The Italians, finding they had been duped, withdrew, but not to side with the lawful Pope.

But an antipope would have had little authority, unless supported by some powerful European sovereign. The French cardinals set to work to procure this help. They began by informing each of the sovereigns that the previous election was null and void, having been the result of force, and that now that they were free and at a distance from danger, they had elected Robert of Geneva as Pope, and begged that he might receive their allegiance. Joanna of Naples was easily won. The consequences to her were serious. Urban VI., after every means of winning her back had been tried, excommunicated her, and declared her deposed in favour of Charles Durazzo, whom she had herself chosen as her heir. She had, however, previously married and then murdered Durazzo's brother. Now she met the same fate at the hands of the exasperated prince, who, not long after, himself died by the hand of an assassin. The antipope was also joined by France, for hints were freely given that Urban favoured the English. This overcame the hesitation of Charles. He put it to the Sorbonne to decide between the rival Popes. Their reply gave the preference to the Frenchman. France and Naples were the only important States that supported Clement VII., if we except Scotland, then an ally of France, and thus necessarily a foe to England. All the other sovereigns of note adhered to Urban VI. Among the universities, Oxford distinguished itself by its masterly defence of the justice of Urban's claims. Thus the whole of Christendom was torn by a rancorous hostility, aroused by the rival claims of the two obediences and by the uncertainty as to which claimant was really the lawful successor of St. Peter.

This painful state of things did not terminate on the death of Urban in 1389. The proposition that all the cardinals should unite in choosing Clement VII. fell, to the ground, and the schism continued under Benedict XII. and Innocent VII., the successors of Urban VI. Worse still, when the antipope, Clement VII., died, the more violent of his adherents chose in his place the Spanish cardinal, already named, Pedro de Luna, who took the name of Benedict XIII. At this juncture France withdrew her allegiance from the antipope, but without submitting to the other claimant. Thus the spirit of independence of papal authority gained ground considerably in France.

When, in 1406, Innocent VII. died and Gregory XII. was elected to succeed him, it was proposed that both claimants to the Papacy should abdicate, and that another should be chosen. Thus the schism would have been ended. But negotiations were fruitless. Benedict XIII. agreed, on condition that the meeting between the rivals should take place in Savona. Gregory XII., however, was afraid to trust himself on French soil, where he would have been in the power of the opposite side.

So disastrous were the effects of the schism, and so futile all attempts to heal it, that it was felt by all right-minded persons that vigorous measures must be taken to close the unhappy strife. The cardinals of both parties met to concert means, and a Council was decided on. A large number of cardinals and bishops, together with ambassadors from all Catholic nations, assembled at Pisa, 1409. It is very difficult to say what course should have been adopted; but that which was chosen, with the best intentions but on a wrong principle, only aggravated the evil. For the Council, seeing only one way out of the difficulty, as neither claimant would yield, declared both deposed. Then the cardinals proceeded to a new election, and nominated Alexander V. Now neither Benedict XIII. nor Gregory XII. recognised the right of the Council to depose them. Their view of the case was correct; but whether they acted rightly in holding out is another matter, and not so easily decided. As it was, each held to his position. It is clear that if one of the two earlier claimants was lawful Pope, Alexander V. had no right whatever; but the members of the Council upheld its authority and the nomination it had made. Never was there such a scene of confusion as ensued. The nations sided with one or the other Pope, as they thought right. England, for once siding with France, her ancient foe, supported Alexander V., as did Italy, Portugal, and the city of Avignon. But Alexander V. soon died, and was succeeded by John XXIII., so the triple fight went on.

A disputed succession to the Imperial Crown of Germany was terminated by John XXIII. in favour of Sigismund of Hungary. It was by the instrumentality of this prince that the long-continued schism was at length healed. He proposed that a General Council should be convened. John XXIII. consented, and proclaimed his intention of presiding. Constance was chosen as neutral territory, and it is said that eighteen thousand ecclesiastics presented themselves to take part in the Council. Owing to the peculiar nature of the matter to be treated of, it was agreed that in the preliminary meetings everyone should vote, and that the questions in dispute should be carried by the majority. Then it was decided that in the Council Sessions the power should be vested in the five great nations, each nation having a vote. The opening sessions were presided over by John XXIII., each of the other claimants sending a nuncio to represent him. After some discussion, it was decided to ask John to abdicate. John consented with every appearance of noble self-sacrifice; but, in an evil hour, he listened to adverse advice, fled from Constance, and revoked his consent. The Council ruled that the abdication had been valid and could not be withdrawn, therefore it declared John deposed. John's better nature reasserted itself, and he accepted the sentence with dignified submission. Gregory XII. then recognized the authority of the Council (this recognition is considered by some theologians as rendering its earlier sessions (Ecumenical), and he laid down the tiara, 1415. Benedict XIII., however, held out. Every effort was made to induce him to yield. The Emperor Sigismund in person pleaded the cause of justice, but in vain; St. Vincent Ferrer had no better success; and though none supported him except one little Spanish town, the aged prelate could not be moved.

No fresh election took place, however, and the Council undertook to govern the Church on the assumption, which was gaining favour among some of the French theologians, that its authority was superior to that of the Pope. During this time the heresies of Wyclif and of John Huss were condemned, and several other matters were treated of, but little was concluded, the want of a head being too apparent. At length, finding that difficulties were likely to multiply if no Pope were elected, the Council proceeded to depose Benedict XIII., and to elect a successor to the See of St. Peter in the person of Cardinal Colonna, who took the name of Martin V., 1417. Peace was thus restored to the Church, but the mischief caused by the schism was not and could not be repaired. The contempt which the miserable contest drew upon the persons of the rival Popes had extended to their office. The claimants could exercise no authority for good even in the nations which supported them. They dared not oppose too strongly the practices of those on whom they depended for possession of the tiara, so abuses grew apace, and the seeds were sown of a bitter harvest reaped but a hundred years later in the so-called Reformation. This was not all. Not only did whole nations then fling off the yoke of the Church, but, in those which remained faithful, a deadly spirit of opposition to the full rights of the Popes manifested itself, and did incalculable mischief by sapping the vigour of loyal adherence to the Holy See, thus laying them open to the attacks of the pernicious heresies which were gaining ground around them.

II. Affairs in the East

In 1301, the last of the Seljukian line of Turkish sultans died, and his dominions split up into ten different states; that under Othman or Osman, descendant of a chief of Tartar raiders, who had made themselves useful to the Seljukians, and had received a territory named Sugut in return for their military services, rapidly absorbed all the others, and Othman himself became founder of the Ottoman line of sultans, which to this day holds the throne of Constantinople. Othman and his son and successor, by a series of daring exploits, made themselves masters of the lands facing the now decrepit Greek Empire, the southern shores of the Bosphorus and the Propontis.

As a preparation for further conquests, the celebrated military body, the Janizaries, was organized. It was the first standing army of modern times, and seems to have been modeled on, or to have reproduced, a kindred band, the Saracen Mamelukes, whose leaders by this time were holding the Egyptian Sultanate. The Janizaries, like the Mamelukes, were recruited wholly from Christian sources. Boys captured from their parents were brought up Mohammedans, and carefully trained for a military career.

Gallipoli was the first European town seized by the Ottoman Turks; but by 1375 all the Balkan Peninsula, with the exception of Constantinople and its environs, was in their hands. The Greek Empire was thus reduced to the last extremity. It might have looked for succour to the west, but the old bitter feeling born of the Greek schism had shown itself in treacherous dealings during the Crusades, whose attempts to free the Holy Land it had signally thwarted. The setting up of the Latin Empire at Constantinople, in 1204, had but made friendship between east and west more unlikely than ever. The Greeks, hating both the Latins and their Church with a frenzied violence, contemning them, moreover, as ignorant and uncultivated, would not consent to be helped even when peril was greatest. The sovereigns alone, with some of the more far-sighted ecclesiastics, seeing the impending danger, ventured to accept the aid proffered by the Popes.

But the west had little succour to give. We have come to the period when England and France struggled during generations for possession of the fair lands of Provence, Gascony, and Guienne; when the German throne was occupied by a succession of insignificant princes, and Spain stilt lay prostrate under the Saracen yoke. The Popes, however, never abandoned either the idea of overthrowing the Turks, and thus freeing the Holy Land, or of bringing back the eastern Schismatic Churches into the unity of the fold of Christ. Thus we find one Pope after another striving to arouse anew the crusading zeal, as well as treating with the eastern emperors and patriarchs for the reunion of the Churches. But, as we have seen, the Popes themselves lost much of their influence during the disastrous western Schism, and, as Cardinal Newman says: "Resistance to the Pope's authority on the part of the States of Europe generally is pretty nearly coincident with the rise of the Ottoman Empire." Thus it was almost impossible that the western sovereigns should be got to co-operate against the common foe, though year by year the power of the Moslems was increasing in Europe, and the frontiers of their widening provinces were ever being pushed further into the heart of Catholic lands.

At length, Bajazet I., one of the most arrogant of the Turkish Sultans, pressed northward towards Hungary. The imminent danger at last roused the western princes, and a crusade was preached. A hundred thousand men marched under Sigismund of Hungary to encounter the invaders. The desperate battle of Nicopolis, 1396, resulted in complete victory to Bajazet, whose inhuman cruelty satiated itself by the revolting spectacle of eleven thousand prisoners slaughtered in cold blood. But Bajazet himself had to fight for his empire and his life. Timur the Tartar, another of those wild conquerors whose horrible deeds of brutality mark the history of the east, was over-running Asia Minor. The story of this warlike barbarian rivals that of Genghis Khan. There is the same tale of massacre, pillage, and desolation, with features of additional ferocity. For instance, Timur would follow up his victories by erecting pyramids of human skulls near the site of demolished towns, whose fall he thus commemorated. Bajazet was taken prisoner by this monster, and experienced some of the sufferings he had wantonly inflicted on others. After eight months' imprisonment, spent in a cage which graced the Tartar monarch's caravan in his progress from one slaughter to another, he died ignominiously. It seemed as though the Ottoman Empire would have fallen at this time; but a year later, 1402, under Mohammed I., it began a new career of prosperity. Had a crusade been organized while Timur was attacking the Turks, there is no doubt that the revival of the Turkish Empire would have been prevented. But it was too soon after Nicopolis to gather an army sufficiently powerful to drive the Turks from Europe. The lost opportunity never recurred.

Seeing the desperate condition of his affairs, the Greek emperor, John Paleologus, in 1438, made overtures to Pope Eugenius IV. for a reunion of the Greek and Latin Churches. The advance was cordially met. The Council which had been sitting at Basle was transferred first to Ferrara and then to Florence. At this Council, Greek as well as Latin prelates appeared. Long, and at times bitter, disputes were held, but at length the Greeks accepted the Catholic teaching on the three points in which it was found that they did not hold the orthodox faith—namely, the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, the existence of Purgatory, and the supremacy of the Pope.

Great rejoicings were held in Rome over the accomplishment of the long-desired reunion. But at Constantinople the matter met with another reception. The people opposed the movement with all their force, and the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, though they had been amongst those to accept the decree, anathematized all who submitted, 1443. During these proceedings, the Turks had been held at bay by Hunnyades, a valiant warrior known as the White Knight of Wallachia, who for twenty years kept up a ceaseless border warfare against the invaders. In 1444, he advanced into their territory and met the Turks at Varna. The Pope had raised another band of Crusaders, and sent them with a legate, the Cardinal Julian, to the aid of Hunnyades. The King of Poland also joined with a large body of troops. The Christians fought splendidly, but were overthrown with frightful slaughter, the Polish king and the legate being among the slain. This defeat was a death-blow to the Christian cause. Though Hunnyades, encouraged by St. John Capistran, who had also been in the field of Varna, and Scanderbeg, Prince of Albania, kept back the Turkish forces as long as they lived, all hope was at an end of saving the Greek Empire. Mohammed II., grandson of the Mohammed just mentioned, commenced his reign with the cry, ominous for Europe, of "Constantinople and then Rhodes!" It will be remembered that the Knights of St. John had established themselves in this island after their expulsion from Acre. During all this long struggle, they had kept the mastery of the Mediterranean, in spite of the determined efforts of the Turks to wrest it from them.

The last emperor of Constantinople, Constantine Palmologus, was a man of another stamp from his predecessors. Brave, able, and a sincere Catholic, he succeeded in rallying round him a little band of defenders, determined to hold the city or die in the attempt. But his difficulties were not confined to combating enemies without the walls. The Greeks within would not co-operate with the Latins who flocked to aid the gallant emperor in his fatal struggle. They preferred, they said, to have the Turks as masters than to be free and in alliance with Rome. Nine thousand warriors only answered the summons of Constantine, when the Turks stormed the walls with seventy thousand men. The unequal combat lasted for hours. An unguarded way admitted the Turks in the rear of the devoted band, and all hope was over. Constantine fell; his corpse, when found, was so disfigured with wounds that he was recognised only by his sandals. Days of hideous slaughter followed.

It is said that forty thousand perished in the massacre. A far larger number were sold as slaves. Some few escaped, among them some of the learned men of the place, who bore with them as many precious manuscripts as they could rescue from the burning libraries. Every church and public monument was desecrated, and devastation reigned supreme. The great church of Justinian, the Sancta Sophia, became a mosque, and the throne of the Eastern Caesars was seized by the Turk, Mohammed II., whose descendants to this day hold it as their own. Thus, in 1453, fell the last remnant of the Roman Empire.

III. The Moors in Spain

Spain, as we have seen, fell beneath the power of the Moors in the eighth century. The invaders gradually acquired possession of almost the whole peninsula, which soon broke up into a number of independent States. But the Spaniards, true to their faith, rarely mingled with the conquering race. Intercourse between the two peoples naturally brought about a slight change in their language, but, considering that the Moors remained nearly eight centuries as the ruling race among the Spaniards, a period about as long as from the Norman Conquest to the accession of Queen Victoria, it is remarkable how purely Latin a language Spanish is. This is an indirect testimony to the almost complete independence of thought and belief maintained by the Spaniards during their long servitude. The Moors were a highly cultivated and accomplished people, and up to the twelfth century were in advance of most of the other races of Europe in science and architecture. This was because Spain had comparative peace during the centuries when most northern lands were still struggling against invaders. From the twelfth to the fifteenth century, however, the Moorish dominion gradually but surely lost its hold. When the Caliphate of Cordova fell in 1236, the Moorish principalities became totally independent of each other, and a series of petty wars broke out, weakening the power of the Mohammedans and raising the courage of the Spaniards. Along the southern slopes of the Pyrenees and mountains of Asturias, little Christian States had already begun to be formed. A row of frontier castles had been erected to mark off the boundary-line between the rising States and their enemies.

This castle-studded borderland—hence called Castile—became independent towards the end of the tenth century. The kingdom of Leon had been formed fifty years earlier. In the eleventh century, Castile and Leon were united into one kingdom. Then Portugal established its independence. Aragon, still further south, was founded in the twelfth century. Under St. Ferdinand, in the thirteenth century, the Moors were gradually driven seaward out of the central provinces. Five of their States fell before him, and a sixth, the important kingdom of Granada, became tributary in 1246. Several military orders were instituted to repel the attacks of the Moors, who did not readily submit to being turned out of the fertile lands they had held so long.

The period that followed was a glorious one in the history of Spain. Her sturdy adherence to the true faith bore fruit in these days of regained freedom, and her sons were distinguished for their devotedness to the Holy See and the cause of religion. Magnificent cathedrals rose all over the land, and a period of prosperity set in for both Church and State.

When, in 1468, Isabella, the heiress of Castile, married Ferdinand, King of Aragon, the two most important States were united. The sovereigns determined to free all the Spaniards still subjugated to the Moslem yoke, and to rid their country of the Moors. A brief but desperate contest followed, during which the Moors lost one fortress after another. The valour of the Moslems was crippled by divided counsels among their leaders. Ten years after, Ferdinand and Isabella began the final struggle. Granada surrendered in January, 1482, and Boabdil, the last king of the last Moorish State in Spain, withdrew with the remnant of his people to Africa. Thence for a hundred years the former masters of Spain harassed their old thralls, but never again did they obtain a foothold in the land.

The Moors who remained among the Spaniards became a serious difficulty to the sovereigns. A similar danger was experienced from the Jews, and both bodies were very numerous. Many attempts were made to induce them to embrace Catholicity. It will be remembered from many incidents in English history that persecution of Jews was by no means rare in the Middle Ages. As Jews were wealthy and money-lenders by profession, the temptation to permit this treatment was great to needy rulers. To escape persecution, many Spanish Jews made outward profession of Christianity, while keeping up their own belief and worship in secret. A suspicion arose that certain Jews who had been converted and raised to high positions in Church and State were still in league with their nation, and plotting against the sovereigns. Then Ferdinand and Isabella established the new form of Inquisition already spoken of, and in 1481 it began its functions by seeking out Maranos, as relapsed Jews were called. If the accused were convicted, and refused to abjure Judaism, he was burnt alive. If he recanted, he was still burnt, but was strangled to death first.

Liberty of worship was guaranteed to the Moors remaining in Spain when Granada fell. But Ferdinand and Isabella attempted to convert them, and, to help on the work, offered considerable advantages to those who became Christians. Moorish converts, therefore, like the Jewish ones, were not quite free agents; at any rate, their sincerity may be doubted. But the unconverted Moors were indignant, and persecuted their countrymen who had yielded. Probably, among the hot-blooded Spaniards, retaliation would follow, or they would think themselves bound to defend the converts. Whatever the cause may have been, the Moors revolted. When subdued, they were offered conversion as a condition of peace. Then followed with the Moors what had been seen among the Jews—outward profession of one religion, and secret practice of the other. Relapsed Moors were called Moriscos. These, too, were hunted down and denounced to the Inquisition, with the usual result. Pope Clement VIII. (1592–1605) forbade the confiscation of property belonging to the innocent members of a family, and condemned the use of capital punishment for apostasy.

Meanwhile Spain was rising into a prominent position in Europe. The union of the whole peninsula, Portugal excepted, under one crown, had strengthened her position at home, and the moment had come when a vaster field of influence was opened to Spanish enterprise than any other nation had yet enjoyed. The intelligent daring of Isabella gained a new world for a country which was about to become mistress of a great part of the old. Portuguese navigators, too, were already creeping round Africa, and finding their way into the Indian Ocean. Five years after the day when, by a splendid mistake, Columbus found a new continent, Vasco da Gama, sailing east, reached what Columbus had sought—India. But the story of Spain at the zenith of her power belongs to the next period.

IV. The Renascence

While the events already alluded to were in progress, a gradual change was coming over the spirit of Europe. Medieval institutions were breaking up, and an unsettled state of things succeeded in politics, in literature, in art, and in social life. This could not fail to affect the attitude of men towards the Church. By the end of the period feudalism was almost extinct; the power of the great nobles was being absorbed into that of the sovereign, whose rule was becoming more and more absolute. We have seen that the Pope could no longer rouse Europe with the old cry of "God wills it!" which had once thrown the valiant hosts of Christendom across the path of the Turks, who were yet ever advancing; for, though Spain was shaking off the Moslem yoke, the faltering Greek Empire was bending beneath it. The nations of Europe were settling down gradually into the limits they have to-day: England was making her first attempt at empire, fortunately for her an unsuccessful one; France, when once she had shaken herself free from English servitude, had to consolidate her newly regained provinces. Such, too, was Spain's occupation at the same time. The great Italian republics were being transformed into duchies and princedoms; Russia was about to appear in history; Poland had started anew her existence as a kingdom. In the midst of these changes, a guiding hand was needed to check the evil tendencies which were sure to arise side by side with those which made for good, and which would want fostering. The saddest feature of the whole period is that at the moment of greatest need the guiding hand was wanting. The Church herself was, as we have seen, running the gravest perils she had ever yet encountered: first a schism in the Papacy itself, and then a time when Popes were rather political rulers than pastors of souls. Where were men to turn for help? No wonder that, in a time fraught with so many dangers, many should have made shipwreck among the shoals and quicksands of human thought. For the Church's battlefield was no longer one of action; the contest, as in the days of the Eastern heresies, was one of thought.

The deep supernaturalism of the early Middle Ages, rendered more intense by the widespread interest in scholastic and mystical learning, had a threefold development. In the purest and best natures, the desire for higher things took the form of a craving for a spiritual life, and under the guidance of such men as Tauler and Thomas a Kempis, the author of the "Imitation," numbers advanced to very great sanctity. But others, abandoning the traditions handed down by the saints of old, struck out new paths for themselves, and became wild fanatics, whose extravagant practices of prayer and penance brought contempt on themselves and on the Church, which was supposed, though erroneously, to have encouraged them. Chief among these were the so-called religious societies of the Brethren of the Free Spirit, and the Beguines and Begards, so notorious in the fifteenth century. Among the very ignorant, the craving for the supernatural showed itself in the form of a belief in witchcraft. This horrible superstition spread alarmingly, and up to the close of the seventeenth century it had scarcely declined. Every European nation prosecuted witches, who were hunted down with savage cruelty, tortured to extort a confession of evil practices, and burned when convicted. Finally, there were those who threw off every semblance of religion, good or bad, and who, under the influence of classical learning, returned to a pagan form of living.

In the domain of knowledge, the same triple aspect has to be considered. There were those who held on to the beaten tracks, and it must be owned, far too rigidly. The magnificent results already obtained by the scholastic method, as it was called, satisfied one section of students, and they would go no farther. By clinging with absurd persistence to the old form of study, and neglecting to seek out new matter of inquiry, they brought themselves deservedly, and the scholastic method undeservedly, into disrepute. But the opposite party, with a remnant of the tremendous energy inherited from the earlier age, flung itself upon whatever promised to satisfy its appetite for novelty. The classic literature of Rome was ransacked and studied with passionate earnestness; and after the fall of Constantinople, that of Greece also was added to their treasures. But for these zealous students it was not enough to pore over the ancient authors: everything must be conformed to a classic standard. The evil of this was that, splendid as are these monuments of human genius, they are profoundly pagan. The writers of the heathen world preach the indulgence of pride, and the spirit they foster is the worship of pleasure and beauty, the pursuit of all that makes this life enjoyable. Their new disciples entered fully into the spirit of their teaching—the thought of the next world, with its grave and salutary lessons, was cast aside, and they lived but for the satisfaction of every passion, till society became a repetition of what it was before the Gospel was preached to the world. This rejection of Christianity, its pure doctrines and noble morality, in favour of pagan letters and pagan spirit, is called Humanism, which in its worst sense means the exaltation of man in the place of God.

It was in Florence that the "New Learning," as it was called, was most highly cultivated. The sovereign dukes, who belonged to the famous Medici family, were liberal patrons of literature and art, and in their courts the profession of Humanism was accompanied by the most luxurious living, and the utmost abandonment of every restraint imposed by moral laws, human or Divine. Splendid magnificence and the vilest of crimes went hand in hand. Though not carried to the same excess everywhere, there were few careers or states of life which were not influenced by this spirit. Among Churchmen, for instance, it was considered a sign of vulgarity and ignorance to quote scriptural language, or teach doctrine in plain, unvarnished terms. Sermons became simply studies of poetical or fanciful ideas, clothed in beautiful language, the very names of God, our Lady, and the Saints being translated into mythological forms. Many of the hymns of the Divine office were remodeled to suit the new taste, and not a few of the glorious churches of an earlier date were altered to slavish imitations of pagan temples; while, literally, the statues of angels and of saints were exchanged for those of the gods and goddesses of the heathen world.

It is not to be supposed that this revolt against the usages of the Church would be unaccompanied by attacks against Churchmen. Unfortunately, there were only too many whose conduct laid them open to slanders. The worldliness of many in high places was too manifest to escape notice, and even Popes were not exempt from this failing. That several of the fifteenth-century Pontiffs acted more like temporal princes than as heads of the Church is well known, and it is now generally admitted that Alexander VI. (Rodrigo Borgia) disgraced his sacred office by strange misconduct. There were many ready enough to denounce these abuses loudly, and we find also that really good and earnest men of the time often spoke very strongly against a state of things that was bringing the Church into discredit and hindering the salvation of souls.

Foremost among the men who undertook to bring back the practice of the laws of the Church was Jerome Savonarola. He was a Dominican friar who, in 1489, was appointed Lenten preacher at St. Mark's, in Florence. His youth had been studious and very innocent, and, from the time he entered the Order, he was a holy and fervent religious. He had held several important posts, and when he began to preach he had already seen and mourned over the vices of Florence. His words, full of passionate earnestness, soon found an echo in the hearts of his hearers. Crowds gathered round him, till the vast church could no longer contain them. He denounced the wickedness of the Florentines in no measured terms, and spared none, however high their station. The face of the city was changed, and in their desire for reformation, the people declared that Lorenzo de Medici was not fit to govern them. Savonarola had warned the Florentines that the French would come and attack the city if an improvement in manners did not take place, and his prediction came true. Charles VIII. advanced on the city. Pietro de Medici, son and successor of Lorenzo, surrendered, which so angered the Florentines, that they exiled their rulers, and a new government was set up.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

Many reforms were commenced, and though Savonarola took no part in the Council of State, it was he who led the whole movement. A marvellous transformation came over the city, luxury in dress and furniture was put a stop to, and even the most lawless conformed to the simple severity of a virtuous life. A "bonfire of vanity," as it was called, was heaped up in the great square, at which fair ladies and gay lords burnt all the trophies of their former lavish indulgence. Those who would not join the converted Florentines in their new way of living, became violent enemies of the man who had wrought the change, and they accused him to the Pope, Alexander VI.

The Dominican was called to Rome to answer for himself. A letter is extant in which he laid before the Pope his inability to do so from the state of his health and the need of his presence in Florence. Then he was forbidden to preach. For a time he obeyed, but at last, sheltering himself behind the statement that the Pope had been wrongly informed (that excuse made so often by those who find a command inconvenient), he once more began to preach. This was the fault which blots an otherwise fair memory, and which brought on him the sentence of excommunication. In 1498 Florence was the scene of violent riots. An attempt was made to reinstate the Medici, and failed. Five of the conspirators were executed without the benefit of appeal, which was usual in the city. This act brought down a storm of abuse on the government, of which Savonarola was supposed to be the leading spirit. He was accused of heresy, and when challenged to an ordeal of fire by a Franciscan, would not consent, thus giving offence to his enthusiastic supporters. These two incidents turned the tide of popular feeling against him.

Fierce mobs raged round his convent at St. Mark's. Savonarola was carried off and imprisoned. Pope Alexander VI. wished to have him tried in Rome, but the Florentines refused to give him up. The Pope then sent the General of the Dominicans and a Legate to represent him. At the trial which followed, Savonarola was again accused of heresy, and when under torture made some statement which was construed into an admission of guilt. As he afterwards retracted or corrected this assertion, he was condemned, as a relapsed heretic, to capital punishment. His last days were spent in fervent exercises of prayer and penance, he received Holy Communion before being conducted to the scaffold, where he protested that he died in complete submission to the Holy See, and in the bosom of the Church. The Pope sent him a plenary indulgence for the hour of death, which he gratefully received. He was strangled, and his body committed to the flames. The judgment against Savonarola was modified, and his writings were in after-days pronounced free from heresy. Pope Alexander himself is said to have deeply regretted the sentence passed on him.

We have yet to mention the band of eminent men who stand midway between the paganizing Humanists and the Scholastics. They shared the love of literature and art of the former with the religious convictions of the latter. The most famous of these is Dante, whose great poem, the "Divine Comedy," is the finest example of the spirit and teaching of the Middle Ages that exists. Teachers like Vittorino da Feltre exercised vast influence for good in Italy, as did the Brothers of the Common Life in Germany and the Netherlands. A mere list of names would convey but little idea of the splendid talent of such children of the Church as our English Chaucer; the wonderful scholar, Pico Bella Mirandola; the painter, poet, architect, and sculptor, Michael Angelo; the founder of modern astronomy, Copernicus, Canon of Frauenberg, in Prussia; and innumerable others distinguished in every art and science. The invention of the printing press at this time lent an immense impetus to the progress of learning. It is incredible what enormous numbers of books were produced as soon as the art was once known. The Holy Scriptures and doctrinal works seem to have been the most numerous, but only second to these were editions of the classics and treatises on education.

It is to the period we have just reviewed that the name Renascence is applied. To those who look upon the Protestant Revolution as the grandest event in history after the life of our Blessed Lord, this time is regarded as a New Birth of light and liberty, a time when men, long held in thraldom by the Church of the Middle Ages, were flinging off the bonds that had hitherto crippled their energies, and were awaking to a new sense of manly dignity and self-assertion. They claim the great men named above, together with Savonarola and some others, as the heralds of Protestantism.

As to the charge of thraldom, it is hard to believe that anyone who had studied thoughtfully any part of the history, literature, or art of the Middle Ages could possibly think that the magnificent results achieved were the works of slaves. If there is one characteristic which shines in all, it is the unfettered boldness and freedom with which doctor and artist, soldier and merchant alike, deal with the problem in hand. Liberty, and not slavery, is surely the hallmark of these ages.

But why are the great men above named claimed as the precursors of the so-called Reformation? The circumstances of the age had opened up new fields of energy and of thought, and undoubtedly ideas current around them found an echo in the writings, the sermons, the statues, and the paintings of the masters of thought and of art. Thus, Dante, who was a Ghibelline, spoke with the violence of his time against certain of the Popes, Chaucer could mock at the gay monk or the grasping friar, Michael Angelo seek inspiration for his glorious works from the antique, Savonarola denounce the unworthy lives of both Popes and prelates, and Blessed John Fisher revel in Greek learning; but no one who has studied their works could doubt for an instant that they were all Catholics to the backbone, that they loved the Church, and firmly held her doctrines. Theirs was no revolt against the Church and her teaching. They declaimed against the men who failed to rise to the ideal held out to them by the Church:—they condemned not the mother, but her unworthy sons.

But there was a Re-Birth and there was a Revolt. We have seen that the Pagan spirit was revived under the influence of the exclusive study of the classics, and that among these votaries of the antique, the tendency to throw off all restraint was strong. Hence the new thoughts and new principles to which this period gave birth. Up to this time, in spite of all the sad disorders we have witnessed, we have not met with any denial of papal authority, with open reviling of the teaching of the Church, with resolute casting aside of the necessary restraints she imposes on human conduct. Neither have we heard of the proclamation of the right of man to frame his own creed and his own code of moral law, nor of the exaltation of human learning over divine. But we do meet with these ideas henceforward, and once they were let loose upon Europe, they spread with terrible rapidity, and a corresponding looseness of life gained sway from the highest to the lowest. Is it, then, too much to say that, if the term Renascence be allowed, it must be applied to the revival of Paganism, and that licence, not liberty, was the spirit it engendered? Thoughtful-minded men, like Blessed Thomas More, could see that, despite outward prosperity, a fearful time was at hand for the Church, a time when the spirit of a man would be tested to the uttermost. A mighty storm was about to burst, one which, while it was to sweep away the rotten branches from the parent stem, would, by this very pruning, restore to the venerable tree its pristine vigour. It was Luther's hand which unchained the tempest.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

The Church in the British Isles

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

I. Normans and Plantagenets

Between 1066 and 1071 was accomplished about the most momentous event in English history—the conquest of the Saxon island and its people by William the Norman. In Church and State, in home life, and in public administration everything underwent a change; for minster and town, lands and castles, power and wealth passed from Saxon into Norman hands. Thus England was launched on a new phase of her existence as a conquered country under a race of alien kings. One thing alone remained untouched—the Catholic faith—for the conquerors were of the same belief as the conquered. The history of these changes belongs to a more detailed account than this, but the results to the Church must be briefly summed up.

There is little doubt that the Saxon Church had lost a great deal of its ancient glory when the crisis came, and it was not only with a view to consolidating his power that William, in 1070, during a pause in the last great struggle of the Saxons for independence, turned his eyes towards the affairs of the Church, and begged Pope Alexander II. to send his Legate to England. At the Council of Winchester, held the same year, the Legate deposed Stigand, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and other prelates accused of having entered on their office by unlawful means. Lanfranc was appointed to the archiepiscopal See, and lent his aid to the Conqueror in his work of reform. Numbers of monasteries were built, monks of the Cluniac reform came over to England at William's request, and all were placed under Norman superiors. The existing religious houses, as well as the dioceses, were also given to Norman abbots and bishops whenever vacancies occurred by the death or the deposition of their occupants. As all these new superiors were men selected for their virtue, there is no doubt that a great deal of good was done, though it took the Saxons some time to get reconciled to the rule of men who did not know how to speak to them in their own tongue.

It will not have been forgotten that Saxon England and her bishops and kings had shown marked and devoted loyalty to the Holy See. The Norman Sovereigns, at least, were not as zealous upholders of the authority of the Popes as their predecessors had been, and occasionally they induced some of their bishops to side with them. So we find that William, who, by great grants of land to his followers, had raised up a number of feudal vassals who might be a danger to his own supremacy, sought to strengthen his position by tightening his hold on churchmen. First, he exacted homage and fealty from bishops and abbots as well as from the lords, and, until the Pope put a stop to the practice, prelates were just as much the king's "men" as the lay lords were. Then he established certain customs further limiting the independence of the bishops. "No royal vassal could be excommunicated without the king's licence, no synod could legislate without his previous assent and subsequent confirmation of its decrees. No Papal letters should be received within the realm save by his permission." It must be noted that these were not old customs which William wanted to keep up, but new decrees which he wished to see grow into "customs," according to the ordinary use of the word.

He next withdrew from the bishops all share in the work of the civil courts. In Saxon times, the bishop, the sheriff, and the ealdorman had sat together as judges in the Shire Mote, and all cases were tried by them, the ecclesiastical causes first, and then the civil. But henceforward clergy were to be tried by clergy, and lay folk by lay folk; a priest, however, had still to preside when ordeal was used. It is probable that William had no intention of putting power out of his own hands into those of the bishops, and did not foresee that this arrangement could be used against the king, yet we shall see that this is what happened later on. And yet with all this, and in spite of his many faults, William was a Catholic, and in his own fashion a practical one. It was not that he wanted to be spiritual lord over his new subjects; he had resolved to be absolute master in England, and having had some experience of governing unruly barons in his duchy of Normandy, he struck unscrupulously at everything that could foster independence in England whether in Church or in State.

When spiritual matters had to be settled, we have seen that he sent for papal Legates to do it, and that it was Archbishop Lanfranc who carried out the reforms. When Pope Gregory VII. called on him for the arrears of Peter's Pence owing to Rome, he agreed to pay them all, though he would not do the homage for his crown, which the Pope also asked for. The payment of the Peter's Pence was regarded in Saxon times as an acknowledgment of the dedication of England to the Prince of the Apostles, and William was too religious to oppose this custom; but the homage paid to the Pope was a temporal matter by which a kingdom was placed under the protection of the Sovereign Pontiff. William did not find that he needed protection, so he refused to perform this ceremony, and Pope Gregory admitted that he had the right to refuse.

The changes which we have seen that William made in the relation between Church and State continued to be matter of contest for many years to come, but the influence of the reforms, which were also set on foot during the reign, bore fruit even before the Norman period came to a close, and resulted in a marked renewal of religious fervour, which extended far into Plantagenet times. Connected with the movement, and probably largely helping it, was the number of monasteries and convents which sprang up at this time. We must look to what was going on abroad to understand how this came about. Then we shall notice that it was part of the great revival of monasticism which marked the period. Cluniacs, Cistercians, Praemonstratensians, Carthusians, all had numerous establishments in England, and played a very important part in the prosperity of the Church. The great reforms of Pope St. Gregory VII. were also carried out in England, but not without considerable suffering, borne with heroic fortitude by the upholders of the liberties of the Church. The question of the celibacy of the clergy was warmly taken up in Norman times. The matter was one of the points brought forward by the Legate and Lanfranc at the Council of Winchester, in 1077, and the Pope wrote to thank them and William the Conqueror for their zeal in carrying out his decrees. St. Anselm repeated the papal injunctions, and was so vigorous in seeing them observed, that when Henry I., in. want of money, imposed a fine on all ecclesiastics who had disobeyed the decrees, the sum gathered was so small as to disappoint Henry's expectations. To make up for the deficiency, he taxed all the clergy indiscriminately, and when a number of priests earnestly besought him to lighten their burdens his refusal was haughty and disdainful.

Simony and investitures brought too much profit to the sovereigns to be easily relinquished. No trouble on this score occurred in the Conqueror's days; but under the other Norman kings, the struggle between the king and the Church was long and bitter. Simony, with a new feature added—namely, delaying nomination as long as he could, so as to enjoy the revenues of the vacant benefice—was the Red King's favourite form of oppressing the Church. Backed up by the pretended rights which his father's "customs" gave him, he not only sought to get as much money as he could from the clergy, but tried to prevent the free exercise of their duties by the bishops. It will be remembered that they were king's men, and thus they ranked among the barons of the realm. Now, the barons formed the king's council, and might not quit the country without leave. This feudal duty Rufus strove to force on St. Anselm, who urged that his duty to the Church, and his obedience to the Sovereign Pontiff, ought to rank higher than that to the king. The question arose when St. Anselm, who had been forcibly placed in the See of Canterbury while the king was in mortal dread of imminent death, asked leave to go for his pallium. The excuse of Rufus for refusing was that he had not decided who was lawful Pope, and that Anselm could not go till he had done so. Some six years before, Henry IV. of Germany had set up a creature of his own, whom he called Pope Clement V., and the Red King pretended to doubt which of the two, this man or Urban II., was the rightful Pope. At last, William sent to Urban secretly to acknowledge him, and begged that the pallium might be sent to England. A Legate brought it, but he would not give it up to the king, neither would Anselm consent to receive it from the king, who then had to yield. The pallium was laid on the altar, whence Anselm took it as from God Himself. And then he obtained his wish, and went to Rome. While there, he assisted at the Synod in Rome in 1099, when investiture by and homage to laymen was forbidden under pain of anathema. Meanwhile, Rufus met with his awful fate. St. Anselm wept at the thought of the soul of his king suddenly called away in the midst of his career of shocking crimes, unrepentant and unshriven.

Next came the great Investiture Dispute. Henry had implored St. Anselm to return with speed, for he had need of all the support he could command in his attempt to seize the crown. The prompt action of the archbishop had much to do with securing a peaceful accession for Henry. No doubt the young sovereign's promises of fair government to the Church, the barons, and the people were largely due to St. Anselm's advice. But in spite of this hopeful beginning, Henry clung as firmly to his power as his father had done, and when the barons took their oath of fealty to the king, St. Anselm was called on to do the same. This he could not do, as the recent Council had forbidden it. Henry would not yield his point, neither would the Saint. So messengers were sent to Rome to beg that just this once the Pope would give leave for Anselm to swear the oath. But the Pope would not grant the dispensation. Henry had been nominating bishops all this time on his own authority, but Anselm would not consecrate them. One or two consented to receive investiture at Henry's hands, but others, supported by their archbishop, refused. At last St. Anselm was sent to Rome and told not to return without the dispensation. Then the Pope threatened Henry with excommunication. This was too serious a danger to be faced, so Henry offered a compromise. Bishops should be elected by the chapters, but he asked that this might be done in his court. He would give up the right of investing with ring and crosier, if fealty and homage might be sworn in return for the temporalities. To this the Pope agreed, provided the freedom of the elections was not controlled by the king, either in person or by his officials. In iro6 St. Anselm returned to England, and at once Henry handed him the temporalities kept back so long. The archbishop immediately consecrated the seven bishops who had been nominated during the dispute which was thus terminated.

Stephen's action towards the Church was that of a despot. His civil war, however, kept him too much occupied to allow him to indulge his tyranny very freely. Never has England seen such appalling misery as marked the reign of this sovereign. Green says: "England was rescued from this chaos by the efforts of the Church," the great moral leader in the restoration of order being Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury.

Under the early Plantagenets the Church had to fight her way by inches. A long succession of noble bishops, not only contended against the attempts of the sovereign to unduly control her action, but they won for Englishmen much of the freedom of which they are to this day so proud. The first great champion of the Church's liberty was St. Thomas Becket. He had already done signal service to the king as chancellery when, against his wish, Henry II. raised him to the archiepiscopal throne. Sudden as appears the change in his outward manner of life, and in his bearing towards the king, there is no doubt that he had always been thoroughly upright in his conduct. His tastes were magnificent and he freely indulged them, for, as Chancellor, his position gave him the right to do so. His was too honest a nature to do things by halves. If he were the king's minister, his household, his acts must be in keeping, and he would give himself up wholly to his sovereign's interest, as far as conscience would allow: if the king forced upon him an ecclesiastical office, no duty of that state should be shirked, cost what it might. And it cost him much: a life of cruelly hard penance, the loss of the king's friendship, exile from his native land, and a martyr's death.

William the Conqueror's Ecclesiastical Courts had withdrawn clerics from the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts. Henry, whose strong hand was moulding English law into a firmer shape, objected to a large section of his subjects being thus exempted from his rule. Thomas withstood him in this matter because, first, it would be depriving the clergy of a privilege which the usage of a hundred years had made a right; and, secondly, it would bring the Church anew under the domination of the State, just the point that Popes and prelates were striving with such devoted persistence to avoid. The story of the struggle is well known. How Becket, urged by bishops and barons, deceived into supposing that the Pope wished him to give in, and half led to believe that all Henry wished was the appearance of victory, and that if Becket yielded, the king, on his side, would give up the point at issue, promised to abide by the "customs of the realm," for it must be remembered that the Constitutions were not drawn up till next day.

Thus Becket agreed to he knew not what, and when, on the morrow, at Clarendon, the Constitutions were presented for his signature, he realized both how he had been deceived, and what was his imprudence in falling into such a trap. He refused to sign the document, and in bitter penitence abstained from saying Mass till he had received the Pope's absolution. At the Council of Northampton, held the same year (1164), Henry took his revenge. A series of accusations was brought against the Archbishop, and, unsupported by the bishops in his hour of need, though they refused to take part in pronouncing sentence upon him, he was declared guilty of high treason. That night he fled from Northampton, crossed into France, and went at once to Pope Alexander III., who at that moment was in Sens. The Pope upheld St. Thomas in his refusal to sign the Constitutions, in spite of all Henry could do to injure Becket in the Pope's eyes. Six years of fruitless negotiations passed, during which everything was tried to bring about a reconciliation between Henry and the Primate. It seemed, at times, as though Alexander would abandon Becket's cause; but this was not because the Pope did not approve of his conduct. But with such a terrible prospect before him as that of the whole of the vast domains of Henry being dragged into schism, he would yield as far as possible provided he could prevent sin. In such cases there will always be bitter suffering for the champion of right who sees his cause apparently ruined and his enemy triumphant. But suffering and failure are, since the Sacrifice of Calvary, the surest road to victory.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

At last, in 1170, largely by the influence of Louis VII. of France, a reconciliation was effected, hearty and sincere on Becket's side, and probably meant at the time by Henry. But the peace was not of long duration. The Pope urged St. Thomas to return to his diocese as soon as possible, and, knowing he was going to death, Becket started.

The poor and the clergy received him with the greatest joy. The ride to Canterbury was a triumphal procession. Fear of the terrible king had cowed the Archbishop of York and the Bishops of London and Salisbury into submission to his will, and the Pope had suspended the former and excommunicated the two latter. At their demand, St. Thomas promised to try to get the sentences removed, but the prelates endeavoured to poison the mind of the young king against him. Moreover, other evil tongues were at work, and many an exaggerated tale was carried to the old king in France. In less than a month from his landing, at the foot of Our Lady's statue in his own cathedral, St. Thomas met, with the heroism of a warrior and a saint, the death to which Henry's secret wish had consigned him, and which his unguarded words had brought about. So wonderful were the signs of Becket's sanctity which followed, that before his vacant See was filled he had been canonized.

Henry was struck with remorse, but his penitence was not lasting. However, in 1172, when the king was absolved by the Pope, the Constitutions of Clarendon were partially withdrawn, and the clergy continued to be amenable only to the Ecclesiastical Courts. Richard's reign brings the third Crusade, the story of which has already been told. The effect on the Church in England was chiefly to increase taxation of ecclesiastics.

Under John we have the famous dispute respecting freedom of election to Church benefices. John's share in the matter is pretty well known to English readers. The Pope's side of the question needs telling again. In the interest of the Church in England Innocent III. rejected the sub-prior of Canterbury, whose consecration would have brought a species of schism into the community because he had been chosen by a section only of the monks, The Pope also rejected John de Grey, the unworthy nominee of the king, and selected Stephen Langton, one of the holiest and most learned of the English prelates of the day, a man who for his worth was already a cardinal, and himself consecrated him Archbishop of Canterbury. The mad rage of John at being opposed was met by the measure which ordinarily proved sufficient to secure submission in those days, the threat of an interdict. But John was of no ordinary type of wickedness, and Innocent had to take extreme steps before the king yielded. Excommunication and threat of deposition produced no effect. The barons appealed to the Pope against their sovereign, and the King of France was offered the chance of the English crown. John had no one on whom to rely. He had alienated every class in his kingdom by the fierce boldness of his villainy, and in his distress he sought the only help left him.

He determined to throw himself on the mercy of the Pope, and, with the consent of the whole body of clergy and barons, who saw some hope of redress in the project, he placed himself and his kingdom under the protection of the Holy See, swearing fealty to the Pope as his man, and making England a fief of Rome, 1213. This, of course, brought into action the whole of the feudal duties usual between suzerain and vassal. The Pope was bound to support John, and John undertook to obey the Pope, though he was clever enough to turn these relations to his own advantage. Instantly the threatened invasion of France was stopped, an interference on the part of the Pope which Louis submitted to with deep indignation. With some such idea as this, "I am the Pope's man, and no one can touch me," John broke every law and every oath with insolent effrontery. The barons could no longer endure his wickedness, and, guided by Langton, who had by this time taken possession of his See, forced the king to sign at Runnymede the famous Charter, whose first and last provisions gave freedom of elections to the Church.

But John appealed to the Pope. Innocent III. condemned the action of the Archbishop and the barons, suspending the one and excommunicating the others, but the Charter itself, though annulled for a moment, was not disapproved of. The Pope acted thus because the barons ought to have taken their Charter to the overlord before forcing a vassal lord to agree to it. In feudal days such a course was illegal. That Innocent did not condemn the Charter itself is proved from the fact that the next year he blamed John for not keeping one of the clauses in it as he had promised. St. Louis of France, one of the justest kings that ever reigned, also decided on exactly the same grounds when the question was put to him—that Henry III. was not bound to observe the provisions of Oxford. And no sooner was John dead and his little son crowned than the Legate and the Earl Marshal put forward the very same Charter in the king's name. Of course, this was done with full concurrence of the Pope.

Strangely enough, it was during the last years of John's reign, but no thanks to him, that Oxford began to rise in repute as a great school. Its fame was due to the teaching of Edmund Rich, the first master of arts, who taught on the scene of the still future University. All through Henry's reign its prosperity increased, but the great master was removed to another and far less peaceful scene of action. He was made Archbishop of Canterbury by Pope Gregory IX. as next but one in succession to Stephen Langton. Before this he had been treasurer at Salisbury during the erection of the magnificent cathedral by Bishop Richard Poor, and had preached the sixth Crusade. At first St. Edmund had some influence over the young king, whose disposition had been marred by the favourites and evil counsellors who had surrounded him during the year of his education. But when Henry began to govern himself, these men, whose position depended on the favour of the king, induced him to revoke his charters. Edmund, on the other hand, threatened to ex-communicate all who should violate them. Henry, after some opposition, yielded, and a solemn absolution was pronounced over him and his lords—Henry promising with renewed oaths to keep the Charter inviolate. Foreseeing that the firmness of Edmund would be a check to his freedom, especially where nomination to Sees and right of taxation were concerned, Henry asked the Pope to send a Legate to England to aid him in his government. He hoped thus to be able to control the Archbishop's freedom of action. St. Edmund, understanding the king's motive, begged the Pope not to send one, but the Legate Otho, a man of sterling virtue, was sent with orders to keep peace between the king and the Church by the best means in his power. And this was how he did it. Whenever it was possible to grant what the king wanted, the Legate granted it, while the wishes of the patient and saintly prelate, whose submission could be counted on, were as often put aside unnoticed. So when the Canterbury monks, or, rather, some worldly spirits amongst them, opposed the reforms which St. Edmund, whose standard of virtue was high, tried to introduce, they were certainly not condemned by either king or Legate. So, too, when the Canterbury lands were alienated, or when the Canterbury dues were seized, Edmund could obtain no redress.

At this time another question had to be met. The Popes were in a very difficult position. It was in the reign of the impious Frederick II. of Germany. He had seized Rome, and Pope Gregory IX. was in exile at Lyons. Thither all unfortunate clergy who were deprived of the means of livelihood resorted to beseech the Pope to help them. The knights opposing the Tartar invasions had also to be supported, and no money was being drawn from the papal estates. The aged Pope, close on his hundredth year, turned to England, his rich fief, for help. The Legate begged for subsidies, and the Pope asked that benefices might be found for the starving ecclesiastics. The unworldly men among the prelates resolved to make any sacrifice for the Pope, but the rest—those who saw in the diocese but a source of revenue—objected. King Henry would not support the bishops in their proposed appeal against the action of the Pope. At the Council of Northampton, in 1240, Edmund won over the other bishops to join him in paying their share of the subsidy, but they all opposed the proposition about filling benefices with foreigners, as detrimental to the spiritual welfare of the people.

The Archbishop's troubles continued to increase, and feeling himself powerless to do good, he determined, as his predecessors Becket and Langton had done, to take refuge in Pontigny. Worn out with his labours, and already stricken by the malady which brought him to the grave, the saintly Archbishop spent but a few months in the peaceful cloister. He died at Loisy, November, 1240, whither he had been taken in hopes that a fresher climate would revive his failing strength, but was buried at Pontigny, where his body still reposes.

Another prelate famous in the history of the time was Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln. A more sturdy defender of the Church than he could hardly be named. So determined was his action that he succeeded in every point which he undertook to carry out, and, needless to say, he made many an enemy, though all respected his sterling qualities. Henry never got the better of him. When the Pope said the first year's revenues of all benefices which became vacant during seven years must be used to defray the expenses of the canonization and translation of St. Thomas Becket, Henry objected, but Grosseteste helped the Pope to carry the measure. When, on one occasion, Gregory imposed a tallage, Henry forbade its being paid; but Grosseteste's brave and filial devotedness to the Holy See made the king yield. So, again, when Henry himself asked subsidies, pretending to want to go to the Crusades, Grosseteste withstood the demand, and Henry withdrew it. Grosseteste was just as thorough in putting his diocese in order, and his vigorous measures won him the title of the "terrible bishop." His defence of the Pope's authority and jurisdiction is as forcible as anything that has ever been written.

Yet, on one occasion, he withstood Innocent IV. himself. It was when the Pope wanted to place one of his nephews in a benefice in the Lincolnshire diocese. Grosseteste knew that the particular appointment would be a disastrous one, and he opposed it on the ground that an order which would tend to the destruction of souls could not be Apostolic, since the power of the Keys was granted for the good of souls. The letter he wrote on the occasion was addressed to the Pope's notary, who happened to be also named Innocent. This has led some careless historians to state that the strong language of Grosseteste was addressed to the Pope himself, and not to the man who was endeavouring to bring about the obnoxious appointment. The notary sent the letter to the Pope, who had it read to the assembled cardinals. The result was that the Pope's nephew was not placed in the Lincolnshire benefice; and it is not true that Grosseteste was excommunicated in consequence, as when he died, not long after, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Blessed Boniface of Savoy, and other bishops assisted at his funeral, and a petition was signed asking for his canonization.

We know comparatively little of the religious condition of the English people during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It was not a time of stirring events, so history finds little to record. England shared all the great features of the Middle Ages: she had her guilds, her towns rose in importance, she joined in the Crusades, and the friars preached over the length and breadth of the land. The thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries saw the rise and the establishment of Oxford and Cambridge among the great Universities of Europe. These centuries, too, gave us nearly all the magnificent old cathedrals and churches, whose grand beauty still speaks of the Ages of Faith. We know that our ancestors had a most tender devotion to Our Blessed Lady, and that as early as the days of Edward III. our land was consecrated specially to her, and known as "Our Lady's Dowry." Shrines of Mary were among the most famous pilgrimages, and in every church the first Mass said daily was the Mary Mass, celebrated in the Lady Chapel. During these years, when kings were leading their feudal armies to Scotland, Wales, and France, English Catholics were living quietly at home. Probably now and then news of the levy of troops or of the imposition of some new tax would disturb their peaceful existence. But of all this we know little, and it is not unlikely that many of the ideas current respecting the ignorance and want of culture of these times would be greatly modified if the period were closely studied. Such, at least, seems to be the testimony of such lives as those of Wykeham and Waynfleet, the building bishops of the Edwards; and much more so the evidence recently collected regarding the state of religious instruction in these centuries.

It has been often said that preaching to the people in English was begun by Wyclif and the Lollards. But it is clear that priests were accustomed thoroughly to instruct their parishioners in the truths and practices of the faith. Not only are there regulations for such courses to be given four times a year, but great numbers of manuals of such courses exist, as well as collections of sermons arranged for all the Sundays and principal feasts of the year. One religious congregation, and not by any means the most numerous, the Carmelites, produced two hundred of such works. As many of these sermons are careful expositions of Scripture, there cannot have been such ignorance of the Bible as is imagined. It is recorded that Fitz-Ralph, Archbishop of Armagh, 1340, used to read the Gospel in English before he began to expound it. There is a knowledge of Scripture quite remarkable in the letters written by the clergy in these days—e.g., Grosseteste's letter to his Chapter. Mysteries and miracle plays brought the whole sequence of Scripture history before the people, and it is noteworthy what a large proportion of the early literature of England is scriptural or religious. For instance, under Henry II., the old Southern English Gospels of King Ethelred's time were modernized after two hundred years or less of use. In 1250, a Biblical poem, "Genesis and Exodus," was written in English. There is a Northumberland psalter of the same date, and another appeared in 1327. About the same date the "Cursor Mundi" was written. It contained the Old and New Testament in verse, and was thought the best book of all.

Under the Edwards some laws hostile to the action of the Pope were passed—"No credit to the men who drew them up, considering they were Catholics," says Rivington. These were the Statutes of "Provisors" and "Praemunire," carried in the teeth of episcopal opposition in 1351 and 1353. The former threatened with imprisonment those accepting a benefice in England from the Holy See; the latter forbade the introduction, not of Papal Bulls in general, but of such as dealt with Provisions. These Statutes were rarely observed, and when for a time the Popes abstained from nominating to benefices, complaints were loud that deserving and learned poor candidates were set aside for men who had bought the benefices or were relatives of the patrons.

In 1349 a terrible scourge appeared. During five months of that year, the Black Death, a plague which had been desolating Europe, raged in England. How devoted the clergy must have been can be seen from the fact that, when it ceased, hundreds of parishes were without priests, and nine-tenths of the monks were gone. From that time their places were never filled. Many of the old abbeys were left almost desolate, the small handful of monks hardly sufficing for the needs of the parishes around, and being wholly insufficient to keep up the Divine Office. Edward's long war with France had begun—a contest which proved almost as great a curse to victorious England as to vanquished France, such was the misery it entailed on the land. The plague and the war, with the attendant want and rise in prices, bred a sense of misery and discontent which made the English a ready prey to the seditious teaching which began at this time to be spread among them.

II. Heresy in England

It is doubtful whether any one man has done more to change the condition of religious belief in England than Wyclif, for it was his action that made that of the sixteenth-century heretics possible, even if it did not sow the seed which was then reaped. Wyclif was a man of considerable intellectual gifts, a priest who had held several important posts at the University of Oxford, the last being the wardenship of the newly founded Canterbury Hall. The appointment was not for life, and when Archbishop Langham wished to change him, Wyclif brought an action against him first in the English and then in the Roman court. In both suits he was worsted. It is said that he then aspired to the Bishopric of Worcester, and was again foiled. His credit being gone at Oxford on account of his litigation, he went to London, where shortly after he was to be found in the service of the anticlerical party in Parliament, "by whom," says Father Stevenson "he was to be henceforth employed in directing the attacks they were making upon the Pope, the bishops, and the clergy, towards all of whom he entertained strong feelings of personal hostility." One of his early documents (1366) was drawn up for the use of the king, Edward III., refusing Pope Urban VI.'s request for the arrears of tribute agreed on by John. The succeeding years were all marked by determined opposition on the part of Parliament towards the Holy See, then on the verge of the Great Schism. Edward III. tried to allay the spirit of animosity which had been roused, but with only partial success. In 1374 the rich living of Lutterworth, in Leicester, was given to Wyclif, who in the same year formed one of a deputation to meet the Pope's Legate at Bruges. He was probably chosen because of his known antagonism to papal claims. The Pope made many concessions, so that it was hoped all would henceforth go on more smoothly. Wyclif also strongly supported the movement originated by John of Gaunt to exclude the clergy from all offices of State, a point which was carried in 1376.

About this time attention was drawn to the nature of Wyclif's preaching, and he was called before Convocation to answer a charge of heresy. When he obeyed the summons, he came accompanied by John of Gaunt, whose insolent behaviour towards the Primate and the Bishop of London so angered the citizens present that it was impossible to continue the proceedings of the court. Later in the same year, at the investigation of Pope Gregory XI., Wyclif was again called before Convocation. Meanwhile the king died, and some months later the Pope also, and the Western Schism broke out. So that it was only in the beginning of 1378 that Wyclif once more appeared before the Ecclesiastical Court. This time the Princess of Wales, mother of the young king, Richard II., interfered, so that Wyclif again went away uncondemned. The moment was favourable to the development of heresy. The unsettled state of things in Church and in State prevented much attention being paid to Wyclif's doings. During six years, first at Oxford and then at Lutterworth, he continued to preach, write treatises and tracts, the former in Latin, the latter in strong, bold English, and to form a band of disciples. In 1380 he openly attacked the doctrine of Transubstantiation, and was again called on to answer for his opinions, but he refused to attend the summons, and appealed to the king. Twenty-four propositions drawn from Wyclif's writings were condemned, some as heretical, the others as erroneous, but, probably on account of his failing health, Wyclif himself was unmolested. From this time he did not leave Lutterworth, but continued to multiply his popular tracts and to work at the formation of his disciples till his death from apoplexy in 1384.

It is unquestionable that Wyclif drew most of his erroneous tenets from Waldensian and Albigensian sources, though on the subject of the Blessed Eucharist, Berengarius was his principal authority. His doctrines, taken from his own writings, are here briefly summarized. He taught that God had created some men for salvation and others for damnation, and that, as nothing that they could do would alter their fate, repentance and change of life were useless. For the fore-doomed, every sin was mortal; the fortunate elect could sin but venially. Though Wyclif could never shake off his English love of our Blessed Lady, he objected to her being venerated, and he wholly condemned the invocation of saints. God, he said, had established no authority on earth but the Bible, which each might interpret at will; therefore to say that the Church of Rome was God's witness on earth was a folly and a sin. He contended that there were only two orders in the Church, the diaconate and the priesthood (for episcopacy was identical with priesthood); that a man was a bishop or priest by predestination and not by orders, for all Sacraments were only empty symbols. Bishops hitherto, he said, had kept the office of ordaining and confirming, etc., in their own hands only for the sake of drawing fees. He went further when speaking of the Popes, and said that their election by Cardinals was a trick of the devil; he spoke of the Pope as antichrist, and denied him all power to teach, to govern, and to punish. Wyclif was especially bitter in his condemnation of monastic orders, and the Mendicant Friars fared no better. He stated that they had no right to hold any property, and that it was lawful for the sovereign or the people to deprive them of any they might have. He taught that mortal sin deprived a man of all right to govern, were he civil ruler or ecclesiastic. It was thus only necessary to assume that a given person was in a state of sin to render it justifiable to oppose his authority. The king, he declared, was supreme over Church and State, but he held his authority from the people, and could be deprived of it if necessary. These teachings he spread by means of his "poor priests," whom he sent to preach everywhere—without episcopal licence, it is needless to say.

Wyclif had probably begun to gather followers around him as early as 1377. But by 1380 they had become numerous, and were already engaged in preaching. Several were priests, and in exterior forms of life they much resembled the Mendicant Friars, dressing and feeding poorly, and spending their time in going about among the people. The "Poor Priests" boldly taught what Wyclif insinuated in vaguer terms, and they carried into practice conclusions which their leader more covertly suggested. Thus, they declared that all men were equal, that law and rank were but a form of tyranny invented for their own ends by the wealthy, that God did not mean anyone to be serfs or villeins, that wealth was a form of robbery, and that the owners should be made to give up their ill-gotten goods by force.

The consequences of such teaching are not far to seek. The people, whose impoverished condition laid them specially open to suggestions of discontent and rebellion, eagerly took up these pernicious doctrines, and the hostile attitude of the king and the nobles towards the clergy, themselves unsupported in their authority through the disputes about the Papacy, made any vigorous opposition extremely difficult. The results were soon apparent. Absence from Holy Mass and neglect of Sacraments became more frequent, and at last the laity, even women, took it upon them to officiate. Then came a more open attack. Meetings were held, and a series of risings of the peasantry was organised, principally by two men, Ball and Straw, both immediate disciples of Wyclif. The men of Essex rose first, then those of Kent, headed by Wat the Tyler.

They advanced on the capital with some idea of getting the power into their own hands, and setting up new laws. As a preliminary, everything relating to the existing law was destroyed. Charters, rolls, title-deeds were all burned, and any judges or jurors unlucky enough to fall into their hands were slain. Ball had meanwhile got himself imprisoned, but when the insurgents entered London they liberated him, and he speedily roused the more tranquil Kentish men to deeds of violence. John of Gaunt's fine palace of the Savoy was wrecked. This was an act of vengeance wreaked on rank. Next the Church was attacked in the person of Simon Sudbury, the Primate, who was dragged from Lambeth Palace and beheaded on Tower Hill. Then law was to have its victim, and Sir Robert Hales, the Treasurer, was slain. After this, rioting went on at the will of the mob; attacks were made at random, and massacres occurred at intervals. All this time no attempt was made to defend either the city or the sovereign. The sequel of the story is too well known to need repeating. Though the extravagances of its devotees disgusted people for the moment with Lollardy, as it was now called, the sect spread.

In 1395 Pope Boniface IX. urged the king to assist the bishops in rooting out the heresy, and some ineffectual measures were taken. The Lancastrian sovereigns who succeeded in 1399) ?> opposed the heresy more vigorously than their Plantagenet predecessors, and supported the action of the clergy, who, it must be admitted, were somewhat half-hearted in their efforts to stay the evil. In 1401 the Statute De Haeretico Comburendo  was passed. and Sawtre, a noted Lollard priest, was the first to suffer. Adherents rapidly fell off during the reign of Henry IV., and we do not hear of any executions before 1410, when a man called Badley was put to death. The heresy was still formidable at the accession of Henry V. In 1414 a form of insurrection took place under the leadership of Oldcastle, and many executions followed. Old-castle himself suffered three years later. During the early years of Henry VI. strong measures were set on foot against Lollardy, especially in London and Norwich. Courts of inquiry were instituted, and several executions again took place. The details of these trials are known to us principally through Foxe's "Book of Martyrs," a book not too highly prized for veracity by careful critics, no matter of what faith.

The Wars of the Roses necessarily caused a diversion of attention from the Lollards, and when this most sad and disastrous contest was over they were still in existence. By this time they had formed a secret society, "Known-men" or "Just-fast-men" as they were called. They married only in their own sect, and were congregated in special localities. Itinerant ministers kept up their instruction in the tenets of their creed. Needless to say, when Protestantism appeared in the land, the Lollards made common cause with the innovators, and formed the nucleus of the Church of England as by law "reformed."

Wyclif's doctrines were not accepted in Great Britain alone. His works were carried into Bohemia, where John Huss, who adopted them, translated Wyclif's treatises into Bohemian. As he was a professor in the University of Prague, he had every opportunity of teaching others the new tenets. But he was strongly opposed by what was called the German side of this University, and Wyclif's doctrine was condemned. The Archbishop of Prague, having procured from Pope Alexander V. a bull for the suppression of the doctrines of Wyclif, burned the books of the heresiarch and excommunicated Huss, who appealed to a General Council. In the meantime, in spite of every prohibition, Huss continued to teach and to instigate his partisans to deeds of great violence. One very vehement disciple was Jerome of Prague, who spread Wyclifism throughout Poland and Moravia.

In 1414 the Council of Constance was convened. Pope John XXIII. granted Huss, who had been induced to appear, every liberty except that of saying Mass and preaching. As he did not respect this prohibition, he was placed under custody while his cause was being tried. He was allowed to defend his doctrines in the Council, but when he found that they were condemned, he would not retract. Then he was formally pronounced a heretic, handed over to the civil authorities, and according to the law of the empire, he was burned.

His disciple Jerome met a similar fate the next year. The adherents of the two teachers then took up arms, and a desolating civil war continued during thirteen years. The Albigensian scenes were reproduced. The emperor's troops could do nothing against them until the death of their terrible leader Ziska. St. John Capistran converted great numbers in the middle of the fifteenth century. The others are said to have formed a sect known as the Moravian Brethren, though they themselves claim an independent origin.

III. The Church in Scotland

The history of the Church in Scotland during these five hundred years is not very full of incident, and much of what did happen has been lost to us from the general destruction of records at the hands of the Danes at the beginning, and of the Protestants at the close, of the period. Everything had to be once more set on foot when the Danish incursions were over, and the restoration of the Church in Scotland to a prosperous condition was largely due to the sainted Queen Margaret Atheling and her noble husband, King Malcolm. St. Margaret was granddaughter of the English sovereign, Edmund Ironside, whose son, known as Edward the Exile, married Princess Agatha of Hungary. They had three children, Edgar Atheling, Margaret, and Christina.

When Edward the Confessor was king, he sent for Edward the Exile and recognized him as his heir. But the prince died shortly after, and Agatha, foreseeing the danger that threatened her children, took shipping for the Continent. Contrary winds drove them to Scottish shores, where the exiles were hospitably entertained. King Malcolm was won by the charm of the beautiful and virtuous Margaret, and made her his wife. She quickly gained not only the deep respect of her husband, but of all the nobles, and her gentle influence made itself felt by all around her. Her wifely virtues, her intelligent training of her numerous children, were an eloquent lesson that was speedily followed. The court became thoroughly Christian, and the queen's influence spread far and wide. Supported by Malcolm, who took the queen's advice in everything, the Church was enabled to hold Synods and to make wise and necessary regulations respecting sundry evil customs which had sprung up during the days of disorder attendant on the Danish invasion. Laws concerning marriage, the observance of the Sunday, and of the Lenten fasts, were laid down and the sovereigns saw them carried out. Such wise co-operation bore the happiest fruit, and the condition of things vastly improved in Scotland. All the while the queen was practising the most heroic virtues, as well as winning for herself a love that has never died out in Scottish hearts. Her virtuous daughter, the "Good Queen Maud," of English fame, and four of her sons, have a noble place in history, the most noted being David I., who succeeded his father, Malcolm, on the throne in 1093. Malcolm and his eldest son had fallen in battle against the English at Alnwick, and Queen Margaret survived them only a few days. During David's long reign numerous magnificent churches and monasteries were erected, Melrose being the most famous. Scotland was mapped out into dioceses, and the work of his father and mother was carried to completion.

But Scotland had no Metropolitan See. This arose partly from lack of a regular hierarchy in the earlier days—for the bishops had been monks, and the monasteries the centre of episcopal government—and partly from a claim raised, first by Canterbury and then by York, to hold jurisdiction over Scotland. Pope Innocent II., in 1131, ratified the claims of York; but sixty years later, at the request of William the Lion, Pope

Celestine made the Scottish Sees depend directly on Rome. However, towards the end of the fifteenth century St. Andrews was made an Archiepiscopal See, and somewhat later Glasgow was raised to the same dignity. Four bishops were attached to the latter and eleven to the former as suffragans.

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the newly-founded monastic Orders made their way into Scotland. Cluniacs, Cistercians, and Carthusians all found a home and many fervent subjects in the far north. The Crusades, too, drew numerous bold spirits to join the ranks of the combatants. But it was rather late when Scotland founded her Universities. The fifteenth century saw St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen founded; but the spread of monastic schools had long preceded them.

During the struggle of England for supremacy in Scotland, the patriotic party was staunchly supported by the clergy, and the Popes warned Edward I. from attempting to lay hands on a papal fief. It was largely due to the assistance given to Bruce by the bishops that Scotland eventually triumphed. Unlike what often happened in England, w here the nobles and the clergy joined in opposing the king, in Scotland the clergy were almost always on the side of the king against the barons, who were often rather turbulent subjects. In spite of the records being rather few, there is not wanting evidence to prove that the work of the Church in promoting the civilization and instruction of the people was steadily carried on.

Wyclif's miserable heresy found its way into Scotland early in the fifteenth century. The Scotch clergy seem to have been very zealous in opposing the innovators. Resby was executed in 1407 at Perth. He had come from England to spread Lollardy, which must have already taken considerable hold on the people, since all the Masters of Arts in the University of St. Andrews, when they took their oath on commencing office, swore to defend the Church against Lollards. Bohemia contributed to the dissemination of heresy by sending one Paul Crawe to teach Wyclifism in Scotland. He had come over disguised as a Doctor of Medicine. A large body of the new heretics congregated in Kyle, the central district of Ayrshire. They were hence named the Lollards of Kyle.

IV. The Church in Ireland

After Brian Boru's famous battle at Clontarf the power of the Danes in Ireland was broken. But the usual consequences of barbarian invasion followed, much aggravated by want of union among the Celtic sovereigns or chiefs of septs. It would be difficult to say how many independent governments existed at this time, and the petty warfare constantly on foot between them, which had made Ireland an easy prey to the Danes, kept her in a state far removed from prosperity and order. Morals were at a very low ebb, especially in the Danish settlements, when the Norman Conquest of England occurred. Though more than a hundred years were to elapse before Ireland was conquered by Norman arms, she was in close connection with Norman prelates. Lanfranc and St. Anselm, as Papal Legates, had jurisdiction over Ireland as well as England, and both were zealous in promoting regular ecclesiastical discipline. St. Anselm proposed Gilbert, the virtuous Bishop of Limerick, to the Pope as Papal Legate for Ireland, and the appointment was made with great benefit to the people. The chief obstacles in the way of reform were, first, the very great number of dioceses into which the country was divided, and, secondly, the prevailing practice of always choosing bishops from the same family, which had resulted in the diocese being regarded almost as a hereditary possession. The first difficulty was modified by a National Council held at Aengus, when the sixty dioceses were reduced to twenty-four under two archbishops, those of Armagh and Cashel, each having twelve suffragans. The first blow was aimed at the second abuse when Celsus, the noble-hearted Primate of Armagh, induced his clergy to elect as his successor Malachy, Bishop of Connor, instead of the man who would have been nominated in continuance of the tribal system.

Though it was five years after his election before St. Malachy could take possession of his archdiocese, his administration began a new era of things for Ireland. After six years he retired to the See of Down, and shortly after went to Rome to beg Pope Innocent II. to send pallia to the archbishops. On his journey to Rome, St. Malachy called at Clairvaux, where St. Bernard was then abbot. "The pilgrim strangers received a brotherly welcome, and the visit was felt to be one of no common interest. Great was the edification which the pious guests received in witnessing the holy and laborious life of Bernard's spiritual sons; while the monks, on their part, regarded it as a heavenly dispensation that the saintly bishop from the Western Isle tarried with them for a while, and blessed them with effusion as he said farewell and set his face once more towards Rome. This meeting of Bernard and Malachy was the beginning of one of those exquisitely holy and tender friendships that we read of in the lives of saints." St. Malachy felt an intense longing to return and end his days in the holy solitude under the guidance of St. Bernard. After many interviews with the Pope, in which affairs of great importance were arranged with regard to the Church in Ireland, Malachy prepared to depart. "In the last audience the Pope took the mitre from his own head and placed it on Malachy's, bestowed on him the stole and maniple which he was himself accustomed to use in celebrating the Holy Sacrifice, gave him the kiss of peace, and with the Apostolic Benediction, sent him back, not to Bernard and Clairvaux, but to his distracted native country in the capacity of Papal Legate." The Pope deferred granting the petitioned pallia till a National Synod should apply for them, probably to give the bishops the opportunity of testifying to their readiness to submit to the full primatial jurisdiction.

St. Malachy could not pass through France without turning aside once more to visit St. Bernard. Since St. Malachy could not remain at Clairvaux, he would at least have Cistercians in Ireland. It was settled that four of Malachy's companions should stay with Bernard to learn the discipline of the monastery, take the Cistercian habit in due course, and await the moment when the brethren might be able to establish a colony in the "Western Isle." Other postulants were sent to Clairvaux by St. Malachy, and two years later, when their novitiate was over, they returned with a number of French monks to found their first home in Ireland at Mellifont, which Devorgilla, the captured wife of the Prince of Breffny, probably helped to found.

The Cistercians brought with them and taught the people a thorough system of agriculture. Moreover, they introduced a good style of church architecture, for the Celtic monks, though great scholars, had not been great builders like the Latins, and the ancient Irish churches and monasteries were of exceedingly simple construction. The Cistercians multiplied rapidly not only by recruiting subjects in Ireland, but, after the Norman Conquest of Ireland, few barons settled in the land without bringing over a colony of monks. In 1148 St. Malachy again went to France. He wished to bear to the Pope the request of the Synod that the two Primates might have the pallium. He had been told that he should meet the Pope at Clairvaux—for Eugenius III. was about to go thither to meet his former superior, St. Bernard. St. Malachy was delayed on his journey, and the Pope had started homewards. Several illustrious monastic superiors who had gathered to meet His Holiness were still there, among them St. Gilbert of Sempringham. St. Malachy's wish of dying in a Cistercian home under the care of St. Bernard was to be fulfilled. He sickened and died, surrounded by the prayerful monks. "On the shoulders of abbots the body of the saint was borne to the church; Bernard offered the Holy Sacrifice for the departed, and when the sacred functions had been brought to a conclusion, the Cistercians buried their beloved guest in a favourite place in the Oratory of the Blessed Virgin, where five years later (1153) they laid their abbot and founder beside him."

Not twenty years after the death of St. Malachy the Normans arrived. Henry II. had coveted the fair island, and was glad of the pretext afforded by the appeal of the King of Leinster against the Prince of Breffny to get a footing in the land.

It was the Norman Conquest of England played over again in Ireland with a different sequel; for whereas, after three hundred years, Norman and Saxon blended to form one people—the English—such a fusion never took place in Ireland. Norman and Irish remained at feud, a state of things which was most unhappily kept up by unwise laws, such as the Statute of Kilkenny (1365). The animosity between the two races found its way into ecclesiastical regulations. In spite of the most absolute identity of faith, both Anglo-Normans and Celts kept among themselves, and neither party would attempt to effect a union with the other. Anglo-Norman monasteries refused to receive Irish subjects, and later on the Irish ecclesiastics passed similar resolutions with regard to the Anglo-Normans. Pope Honorius III. strove to put a stop to this spirit of national antagonism, but without result. Very many of the Sees were in the hands of Anglo-Norman prelates. The last Irish Archbishop of Dublin before the so-called Reformation was St. Laurence O'Toole. He was a determined opponent of the attempt to add Ireland to the dominions of Henry II., but could not secure sufficient union amongst the native princes to carry out his patriotic views.

During the papal residence at Avignon, the Dublin University was founded. Pope Clement V. by brief authorized John de Lecke, the archbishop of the city, to set it on foot. It was not till John XXII. was on the papal throne that a beginning could be made; but want of funds caused the attempt to fall through, and though repeated efforts were made to carry out the proposed foundation, it was never possible to establish a prosperous University in Ireland. An object so desirable could only be attained by long and patient efforts.

[Illustration] from Church - Later Middle Ages by Notre Dame

Chronological Outline

Date  Events
1073   Accession of St. Gregory VII.
1077   Henry IV. at Canossa.
1096   First Crusade.
1099   Jerusalem taken.
1109   St. Anselm—Archbishop of Canterbury.
1123   Ninth General Council—Lateran I. Investitures. Canonical Elections.
1139   Tenth General Council—Lateran II. Disciplinary Canons enacted.
1147   Second Crusade.
1153   Death of St. Bernard.
1170   Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket.
1179   Eleventh General Council—Lateran III. Affairs of Ecclesiastics. Heresies of Cathari, Albigenses, etc., condemned.
1189   Third Crusade.
1202   Fourth Crusade. Latin Empire of Constantinople founded.
1213   Twelfth General Council—Lateran IV. Albigenses condemned. Paschal communion ordered.
1213   England a fief of Holy See.
1218   Fifth crusade.
1221   St. Dominic.
1226   St. Francis of Assisi.
1228   Sixth Crusade.
1229   End of Albigensian War. Foundation of Inquisition.
1245   Thirteenth General Council—1st Lyons—Crusade determined on. Reunion of Greeks, etc.
1248   Seventh Crusade.
1270   Eighth Crusade.
1274   Fourteenth General Council—2nd Lyons—same as above. St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure.
1300   First Jubilee.
1309   Popes at Avignon.
1311   Fifteenth General Council—Vienne—Knights Templars suppressed. Condemnation of Beghards, Beguines, etc.
1348   Black Death.
1375   Turks masters of all Greek Empire, except Constantinople.
1376   Return of Popes to Rome, Wyclif begins to preach heresy.
1378   Schism of the West.
1380   St. Catherine of Siena.
1408   John Huss and his disciples join Wyclifites.
1414   Sixteenth General Council—Constance—Termination of Western Schism. Wyclifism condemned.
1431   St. Joan of Arc burnt.
1439   Seventeenth General Council—Florence. Reunion of Greeks.
1444   Battle of Varna fatal to Greek Empire.
1453   Constantinople taken by the Turks.
1482   Final victory of Spaniards over Moors.
1492   America discovered.
1498   Savonarola.

Short List of Books

From Which More Detailed Information Can be Obtained

    • Robrbacher.
    • Darras.
    • Brueck.
    • Guggenberger.
    • Birkhauser.
    • Gilmartin.
    • Alzog.
    • Shahan.
    • Montalembert : Monks of the West. .
    • Lilly : Chapters on European History. .
    • Newman : Essays, Critical and Historical. .
    • Huddy, Mrs. : Mathilda of Tuscany .
    • Newman : Historical Sketches. .
    • Drane : Knights of St. John. .
    • Parsons : The Holy Wars. .
    • Drane : St. Dominic. .
    • Lockhart : St. Francis of Assisi. .
    • Hope : Franciscan Martyrs. .
    • Allies : Monasticism. .
    • Gasquet : English Monastic Life. .
    • Newman : Historical Sketches. .
    • Newman : The Idea of a University. .
    • Vaughn, O.S.B. : Life of St. Thomas Acquinas. .
    • Cavanaugh, O.P. : Life of St. Thomas Acquinas. .
    • Parsons : The Middle Ages. .
    • Casartelli : The Three Great Catholic Books. .
    • Sighart : Albertus Magnus. .
    • Azarias : Philosophy of Literature. .
    • Drane : St. Dominic. .
    • Drane : St. Catherine of Siena..
    • Stevenson, S.J. : The Truth about Wyclif. .
    • Various: Historical Papers. .
    • Parsons: Lies and Errors of History. .
    • Morris, S.J. : St. Thomas a Becket. .
    • Gasquet: The Eve of the Reformation. .
    • Wallace, O.S.B.: St. Edmund Rich. .
    • Rivington: Rome and England. .
    • Drane: Three Chancellors. .
    • Various: Historical Papers. .
    • Stone: The Church in English History. .
    • Pastor: Lives of Popes. .
    • Stone: Reformation and Renaissance. .
    • St. Nicholas Series: St. Thomas of Canturbury. .
    •       : The English Pope, Jeanne d'Arc. .
    •       : Vittorino da Feltre. .

All of the books mentioned above can be obtained from R. and T. Washbourne, Ltd., Paternoster Row, London; 248, Buchanan Street, Glasgow; 74, Bridge Street, Manchester; and 39, John Bright Street, Birmingham.