We have now reached an important crisis in the struggle between she. papal and the imperial power; the latter had touched the highest point of its greatness, and was destined to fall by the dauntless energies of one man, Hildebrand, the humble monk of Soano by birth, the con 'roller of the destiny of nations by talent and position.

Section IV.- Revival of the Papal Power.

FROM A. D. 1048 TO A. D. 1070.

We have seen that papal usurpation began by an attack on the power of the Greek empire, and prevailed over the Byzantine court, because it was supported by the public opinion of western Europe. To secure its acquisitions, the papacy entered into alliance with the Carlovingian dynasty on terms favorable to both ; but in the struggle that followed the partition of Charlemagne's empire, it was shorn of its strength, for the growth of its greatness was too rapid to be permanent. When the nobles of Italy had attained the rank of petty princes, the territorial possessions of the church, naturally excited their cupidity, and when the German emperors had extended their sway beyond the Alps, they felt that a controlling influence in the papal elections was necessary to the permanence of their power. Had both combined, the papacy would have been annihilated, the pope would have been a mere vassal of the emperor, and his temporal dominions would have been rent in sunder by rival princes. But even when the papacy was enslaved, either to aristocratic factions, or to despotic autocrats, it was secretly collecting materials for its liberation and future triumph. It was generating an opinion which gave the papacy, as an institution, greater strength and bùrer permanence than it possessed in the days of its former prosperity.

It was under the pressure of the feudal system that the organization of popery was completed and defined; opposed both to princes and emperors, it was thrown for support entirely on the people. By its numerous gradations of rank, the church of the middle ages linked itself with every class of the community: its bishops were the companions of princes ; its priests claimed reverence in the baronial hall; its preaching friars and monks brought consolation to the cottage of the suffering peasant. Great as were the vices of individuals, the organization of the clerical body continued to be respectable, and this was an immense advantage when every other portion of civilized society was a mass of confusion. When the distinction of caste was rigidly established in all the political forms of social life, the church scarcely knew any aristocracy but that of talent; once received into holy orders, the serf lost all traces of his bondage ; he was not merely raised to an equality with the former lord, but he could aspire to dignities which threw those of temporal princes into the shade. The clerical was thus identified with the popular cause, and the bulk of the laity not only received the claims of the priesthood, but gave them additional extension.

Hildebrand was the first who perceived the tendency and the strength of this current, and he probably was sincere in his belief that the church supplied the only means by which the regeneration of Europe could be effected. Feudalism, the worst of foes to social order, stood opposed to the sovereignty of the monarch and the liberty of the subject; the em Jerors were too weak, the people too ignorant, to strug gle against it; and the wise arrangements of Providence, by which good has been so frequently wrought out of evil, made the revival of popery the instrument by which Europe was rescued from barbarism. Hildebrand's personal character is really a matter of no importance ; his measures in the present age would justly subject him to the charge of extravagant ambition and blundering tyranny; but in the eleventh century, every one of these measures was necessary to counteract some evil principle, and milder or more justifiable means would not have been adequate to the occasion. We must not pass sentence on an institution without examining the opinion on which it is founded; and before we judge of the opinion, we must estimate the circumstances by which it was engendered. The disorganized state of Europe produced a strong opinion that some power for appeal and protection should be constituted; a power with intelligence to guide its decisions, and sanctity to enforce respect for them : the revived papacy seemed an institution suited to these conditions, and under the circumstances it was capable of being rendered the great instrument for reforming civil society.

Hildebrand's own writings prove that his design was to render the papacy such an institution as we have described; it was indeed a beautiful theory to base power upon intelligence, and concentrate both in the church. But Hildebrand did not make a discovery which too often has eluded reformers and legislators, that his plan was suited only to peculiar circumstances, that it was only applicable to a period when state power was corrupt and popular intelligence restricted, and that to give it permanence was to extend its duration beyond the period of its utility, and consequently prepare the way for its becoming just as mischievous as the evils it had been devised to counteract.

This general view of the state of society will enable us to form a better judgment of the struggle in which Hildebrand engaged than could be done if we confined ourselves to a simple narrative; we shall now proceed to relate the course adopted by the enterprising monk to exalt the spiritual power,

Leo IX., on whom the emperor, as we have said, conferred the papacy, was a prelate of virtuous principles and strict integrity, but he was a man infirm of purpose, and weak in understanding. Hildebrand was well aware of the advantages that might be derived from the pope's character, and in his first interview he gained such an ascendency over Leo's mind, that henceforth the pope was a passive instrument in the hands of his adviser. The pontiff naturally dreaded that the circumstance of his having been nominated by the emperor, and elected by a German diet, would render him unpopular in Italy; but Hildebrand smoothed the way, and by his personal influence secured Leo a favorable reception at Rome. This service was rewarded by an accumulation of dignities; Hildebrand soon united in his person the titles and offices of cardinal, sub-deacon, abbot of St. Paul, and keeper of the altar and treasury of St. Peter. The clergy and people of Rome applauded these proceedings, because the favorite had induced Leo to gratify the national vanity, by submitting to the form of a new election immediately after his arrival in the city.

Leo made unremitting exertions to reform the clergy and the monastic orders ; but, in the fifth year of his reign he marched against the Normans, who were ravaging the south of Italy, and was unfortunately taken prisoner. Though the conquerors showed every respect to their captive, the misfortune weighed heavily on his proud spirit; and his grief was aggravated by the reproaches of some of his clergy, who condemned him for desecrating his holy office by appearing in arms. He died of a broken heart soon after his liberation, and the deposed Benedict IX. seized the opportunity of reascending the papal throne.

Hildebrand was opposed to the imperial influence, but he hated more intensely the nearer and more dangerous power of the Italian nobles, and therefore he became an active and energetic opponent of their creature, Benedict. The monastic orders supported one whom they justly regarded as the pride and ornament of their body, and by their means Hildebrand gained such a commanding influence over the Roman people, that he could truly represent himself to the emperor as their delegate in choosing a new pope. Henry nominated a German bishop to the dignity, who took the name of Victor II., and the cardinal-monk hoped to exercise the same authority in the new reign that he had possessed under Leo IX. The pope, however, soon became weary of having “a viceroy over him;" he sent his ambitious minister into France with the title of legate, under the honorable pretext of correct. ing the abuses that had crept into the Gallican church. Hildebrand performed his task with more rigor than it would have been prudens for a less popular minister to display; he excommunicated several im moral priests and bishops, and even sentenced some monks to death for a breach of their monastic vows. After a year's absence he returned to Rome more powerful than ever, and Victor was content to receive him as his chief adviser and director.

In the meantime the emperor Henry died, and was succeeded by his son of the same name, who was yet an infant. Hildebrand was too sagacious not to discover the advantage with which the papal power would struggle against the imperial during a minority, and he secretly prepared for the contest. The death of Victor, speedily followed by that of his successor, Stephen IX., delayed, but did not alter, the cardinal-monk's intentions, for circumstances compelled him to appear as an advocate of the imperial authority.

On the death of Stephen, the aristocratic faction, presuming on the minority of the emperor, rushed at night, with a body of armed men, into the Vatican church, where they declared John, bishop of Velitri, one of heir body, pope, with the title of Benedict X. Hildebrand received this intelligence as he returned from Germany; it was brought to him by the terrified cardinals and bishops who had fled from Rome; he assembled the fugitives at Sienna, and prevailed upon them to elect the bishop of Florence, who took the name Nicholas II. The emperor's sanction was easily procured for the latter election, and the imperial court was persuaded that it was supporting its own interests when it placed Nicholas upon the papal throne.

Circumstances soon occurred to prove that the Germans had been deluded; Nicholas assembled a council at Rome, in which it was decreed that the cardinals alone should in future have a voice in the election of the pope ; but to avoid any open breach with the emperor, a clause was added, reserving to him all due honor and respect. A less equivocal proceeding soon followed; the Normans, who had settled in the south of Italy, had become more amenable to the church than they had been in the days of Leo. The lust of conquest was abated, and they were now anxious to obtain some security for their possessions; they therefore tendered their alliance and feudal allegiance to the pope, on condition of his confirming their titles. By the advice of Hildebrand, Nicholas gave to Richard Guiscard the principality of Capua, and granted Robert Guiscard the title of duke, with the investiture of all the lands he had conquered, or should conquer, in Sicily, Apulia, and Calabria.

The pope readily granted that to which he had no right, a proceeding that might have cost him dear, if the old emperor had survived : the Normans, in return, lent their aid to punish the enemies of Nicholas in the Roman territory. The lands of the turbulent aristocracy were ravaged with unsparing cruelty, and it is to the desolation thus produced, that the depopulation of the country round Rome, even at the present day, must be attributed.

While Hildebrand was maturing his plans for re-establishing the papacy, many circumstances occurred, which proved the expediency of establishing a central controlling power in the church. The ecclesiastics of Milan had been, for nearly two hundred years, independent of the holy soe, and their church had become the scandal of Italy. Benefices were openly sold, immoralities flagrantly practised, until at length a respectable portion of the laity requested the interference of

Peter Damian was sent as a legate to Milan, but the populace, incited by the priests, raised a formidable insurrection, and threatened to murder him for menacing their independence. Peter, undismayed, ascended a pulpit in one of their principal churches, and made such an effective discourse, that the rioters not only submitted, but encouraged him to pursue his task of investigation. The inquiry proved, that nearly every priest in Milan had purchased his preferment, and lived with a concubine. The archbishop, after an obstinate resistance, , was brought to confess, that he had transgressed the canons; but he was pardoned by the legate, on condition of swearing, with his clergy, to observe the ecclesiastical rules for the future. Scarcely, however, had the legate departed, when the clergy assailed the archbishop for betraying the rights of their church, and compelled him to retract the conditions to which he had so recently sworn. The troubles in Milan burst out afresh, and the profligacy of the clergy seemed to have been increased by the temporary interruption.

Ere Nicholas could make any effort to terminate these disorders, he was seized by a mortal disease; his death made a great change in the political aspect of Italy, for the church party, encouraged by Hildebrand, set both the emperor and the aristocracy at defiance. The cardinals and bishops, without waiting for the imperial sanction, conferred the papacy on Anselmo, bishop of Lucca, who took the title of Alexander II.; on the other hand, the counts of Tuscany, hoping to recover the lands that had been wrested from them by the Normans, declared that they would support the emperor's right of nomination. The Roman nobles had hitherto owed their partial success to their having sup

the pope.

ported a national prelate ; they soon found that their strength was gone, when they gave their aid to a foreign competitor. Supported by a German and Lombard army, Cadislaus, who had been chosen by the emperor, appeared before the gates of Rome, but the citizens refused him admission. At first the imperialists gained some advantages, but the arrival of Duke Godfrey, with an auxiliary force of Normans, changed the fortunes of the war, and Cadislaus was compelled to make a hasty retreat. He sought refuge in the castle of St. Angelo, where he was closely besieged. Soon afterward, the young emperor, having been removed by a stratagem from the protection of his mother, was placed under the control of the archbishops of Bremen and Cologne; at their instigation he recognised Alexander as the legitimate pope, and Cadislaus, finding himself abandoned by his principal protector, fled in disguise from the castle of St. Angelo to his native diocese, where ..e died in obscurity

During the brief reign of Alexander, Hildebrand was the real governor of the church. As soon as the war with Cadislaus was ended, he directed his attention to the affairs of Milan, excommunicating the perjured archbishop, and ordering that all the priests who were married, or who lived in concubinage, should be ejected from their cures. Supported by the populace and a large body of the nobles, the papal legate not only enforced this decree, but obtained from the clergy and people a solemn oath, that, for the future, they would hold no election of a bishop valid, unless it was confirmed by the pope.

The excommunicated archbishop resigned his see, and sent the insignia of his office, the pastoral rod and ring, to the emperor. Godfrey, a deacon of Milan, was appointed to supply the vacancy by the imperial council; but the citizens of Milan refused to receive him, and chose for their archbishop, Atto, a nominee of the pope. A fierce war raged between the rival prelates, and Alexander, indignant at the support that Godfrey received from the emperor, summoned that prince to appear before his tribunal, on a charge of simony, and granting investitures without the approbation of the see of Rome.

Neither the ambition nor the cares of Pope Alexander, or rather his insi:gator Hildebrand, were confined to the Italian peninsula. By means of the popularity which the pretensions of the mendicant friars had given their order throughout Europe, he established an interest for himself in every part of Christendom. Faithful agents kept a strict watch over the proceedings of the emperor Henry, legates were sent to Denmark and Norway, the allegiance of the king of Bohemia was secured by permission to wear the mitre, and the virtual independence of the Anglo-Saxon church was destroyed by the Norman conquest, to the success of which the interference of the pope and of Hildebrand materially contributed.

The pretexts of the pontiffs are characteristics of the superstitions of the age. Harold, the last Saxon monarch of England, had, during an accidental visit to Normandy, been forced to swear that he would favor the succession of William, whose claims were founded on a real or pretended promise of Edward the Confessor. This compulsory oath, it seems, would not have been considered binding, had not Harold unwittingly sworn it on a chest of relics, collected from all the surround

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