History Of The Christian Church (1892) Philip Schaff


§ 25. Innocent II., 1130–1143, and Eugene III., 1145–1153

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§ 25. Innocent II., 1130–1143, and Eugene III., 1145–1153.


Calixtus II. was followed by Honorius II., whose rule of six years, 1124–1130, was an uneventful one. After his death a dangerous schism broke out between Innocent II., 1130–1143, and Anacletus II., 1130–1138, who represented two powerful Roman families, the Frangipani, or Breadmakers,117 and the Pierleoni.

Innocent, formerly cardinal-legate of Urban II. and mediator of the Concordat of Worms, enjoyed the reputation of superior learning and piety, which even his opponents could not dispute. He had also the advantage of a prior election, but of doubtful legal validity, since it was effected only by a minority of cardinals, who met in great hurry in an unknown place to anticipate the rival candidate.118

Anacletus was a son of Pierleone, Petrus Leonis, and a grandson of Leo, a baptized Jewish banker, who had acquired great financial, social, and political influence under the Hildebrandian popes. A Jewish community with a few hundred members were tolerated in Trastevere and around the island of the Tiber as a monumental proof of the truth of Christianity, and furnished some of the best physicians and richest bankers, who helped the nobility and the popes in their financial troubles. Anacletus betrayed his Semitic origin in his physiognomy, and was inferior to Innocent in moral character; but he secured an election by a majority of cardinals and the support of the principal noble families and the Roman community. With the help of the Normans, he took possession of Rome, banished his opponent, deposed the hostile cardinals, and filled the college with his friends.

Innocent was obliged to flee to France, and received there the powerful support of Peter of Cluny and Bernard of Clairvaux, the greatest monks and oracles of their age. He was acknowledged as the legitimate pope by all the monastic orders and by the kings of France and England.

Lothaire II. (III.) of Saxony, 1125–1137, to whom both parties appealed, decided for Innocent, led him and St. Bernard to Rome by armed force, and received in turn from the pope the imperial crown, June 4, 1133.

But after Lothaire’s departure, Anacletus regained possession of Rome, with the help of the Norman duke, Roger, and the party of the rival emperor, Conrad III. He made Roger II. king of Sicily, and thus helped to found a kingdom which lasted seven hundred and thirty years, till it was absorbed in the kingdom of Italy, 1860. Innocent retired to Pisa (1135). Lothaire made a second expedition to Italy and defeated Roger II. Bernard again appeared at Rome and succeeded in strengthening Innocent’s position. At this juncture Anacletus died, 1138. The healing of the schism was solemnly announced at the Second Lateran Council, 1139. War soon after broke out between Innocent and Roger, and Innocent was taken prisoner. On his release he confirmed Roger as king of Sicily. Lothaire had returned to Germany to die, 1137. Innocent had granted to him the territories of Matilda for an annual payment. On this transaction later popes based the claim that the emperor was a papal vassal.

After the short pontificates of Coelestin II., 1143–1144, and Lucius II., 1144–1145, Eugene III., a pupil and friend of St. Bernard, was elected, Feb. 15, 1145, and ruled till July 8, 1153. He wore the rough shirt of the monks of Citeaux under the purple. He had to flee from Rome, owing to the disturbances of Arnold of Brescia, and spent most of his time in exile. During his pontificate, Edessa was lost and the second crusade undertaken. Eugene has his chief interest from his connection with St. Bernard, his wise and loyal counsellor, who addressed to him his famous treatise on the papacy, the de consideratione.119

§ 26. Arnold of Brescia.


During the pontificates of Innocent II., Eugene III., and Adrian IV. occurred the interesting episode of Arnold of Brescia, an unsuccessful ecclesiastical and political agitator, who protested against the secularization of the Church, and tried to restore it to apostolic poverty and apostolic purity. These two ideas were closely connected in his mind. He proclaimed the principle that the Church and the clergy, as well as the monks, should be without any temporal possessions, like Christ and the Apostles, and live from the tithes and the voluntary offerings of the people. Their calling is purely spiritual. All the things of this earth belong to the laity and the civil government.

He practised what he taught, and begged his daily bread from house to house. He was a monk of severe ascetic piety, enthusiastic temper, popular eloquence, well versed in the Scriptures, restless, radical, and fearless.120  He agreed with the Catholic orthodoxy, except on the doctrines of the eucharist and infant baptism; but his views on these sacraments are not known.121

With this ecclesiastical scheme he combined a political one. He identified himself with the movement of the Romans to emancipate themselves from the papal authority, and to restore the ancient republic. By giving all earthly power to the laity, he secured the favor of the laity, but lost the influence of the clergy. It was the political complication which caused his ruin.

Arnold was a native of Brescia in Lombardy, and an ordained reader in the Church. He was a pupil of Abaelard, and called armor-bearer to this Goliath.122  He sympathized with his spirit of independence and hostility to Church authority, and may have been influenced also (as Neander assumes) by the ethical principles of that magnetic teacher. He certainly, at a later period, sided with him against St. Bernard, who became his bitter enemy. But with the exception of the common opposition to the hierarchy, they differed very widely. Abaelard was a philosopher, Arnold, a politician; Abaelard, a speculative thinker, Arnold, a practical preacher; Abaelard, a rationalist, Arnold, an enthusiast. The former undermined the traditional orthodoxy, the latter attacked the morals of the clergy and the temporal power of the Church. Arnold was far below Abaelard in intellectual endowment, but far more dangerous in the practical drift of his teaching, which tended to pauperize the Church and to revolutionize society. Baronius calls him "the father of political heresies."

In his ascetic zeal for the moral reform of the clergy, Arnold was in sympathy with the Hildebrandian party, but in his views of the temporal power of the pope, he went to the opposite extreme. Hildebrand aimed at the theocratic supremacy of the Church over the State; Arnold sought the welfare of the Church in her complete separation from the State and of the clerical office from secular entanglements. Pascal II., we may say, had prepared the way for this theory when he was willing to sacrifice the investiture to the emperor. The Hildebrandian reform had nearly passed away, and the old corruptions reappeared. The temporal power of the Church promoted the worldliness of the clergy. The author of the Historia Pontificalis says that Arnold’s doctrine agreed with the Gospel, but stood in crying contrast with the actual condition of things. St. Bernard, his opponent, was as much opposed as he to the splendor and luxury of bishops, the secular cares of the popes, and expressed a wish that he might see the day when "the Church, as in olden times, should cast her net for souls, and not for money."123  All the monastic orders protested against the worldliness of the Church, and realized the principle of apostolic poverty within the wall of convents. But Arnold extended it to the secular clergy as well, and even went so far as to make poverty a condition of salvation for priests and monks.124

Arnold’s sermons gained great popular applause in Lombardy, and caused bitter disputes between the people and the bishop of Brescia. He was charged before the Lateran Synod of 1139 with inciting the laity against the clergy, was deposed as a schismatic (not as a heretic), commanded to be silent, and was expelled from Italy.

He went again to France and was entangled in the controversy of Abaelard with Bernard. Pope Innocent condemned both Abaelard and Arnold to silence and seclusion in a convent, 1140. Abaelard, weary of strife and life, submitted and retired to the convent of Cluny, where two years later he died in peace.125  But Arnold began in Paris a course of public lectures against the worldliness and immorality of the clergy. He exposed especially the avarice of the bishops. He also charged St. Bernard with unholy ambition and envy against scholars. Bernard called him a man whose speech was honey, whose doctrine was poison. At his request the king expelled Arnold from France.

Arnold fled to Zürich and was kindly received and protected by the papal legate, Cardinal Guido, his former fellow-student in Paris.126  But Bernard pursued him even there and denounced him to the bishop of Constance.

After a few years of unknown exile, Arnold appeared in Rome as the leader of a political movement. Innocent II. had allowed him to return to Italy; Eugene III. had pardoned him on condition of his doing penance in the holy places of Rome. But after the flight of this pope to France, Arnold preached again the doctrine of apostolic poverty, called the popes and cardinals Pharisees and scribes, and their church a house of merchandise and den of robbers. He was protected by the Roman senate, and idolized by the people. The Romans had renounced the papal authority, expelled the pope, substituted a purely secular government after the ancient model, and invited Conrad III. to assume the rôle of Constantine I. or Justinian. They lost themselves in dreams of government. The tradition of the old Roman rule controlled the Middle Ages in various forms: it lived as a universal monarchy in the German Empire, as a universal theocracy in the papacy; as a short-lived republic in the Roman people. The modern Italians who oppose the temporal power of the pope are more sensible: they simply claim the natural right of the Italian people to govern themselves, and they confine the dominion of Rome to Italy.

Arnold stepped out of the ecclesiastical into the political sphere, and surrounded the new republic with the halo of religion. He preached in his monastic gown, on the ruins of the Capitol, to the patres conscripti, and advised them to rebuild the Capitol, and to restore the old order of senators and knights. His emaciated face gave him a ghost-like appearance and deepened the effect of his eloquence.

But the republican experiment failed. The people were at last forced into submission by the interdict of Pope Adrian IV. Arnold was banished from Rome, 1154, and soon afterwards hanged by order of Emperor Frederick I., who hated democracy and republicanism. His body was burnt and his ashes were thrown into the Tiber, 1155, lest his admirers should worship his bones.127

Arnold’s was a voice of protest against the secular aims of the papacy and the worldliness of the clergy which still has its hearers. "So obstinate is the ban of the Middle Ages under which Rome is still held," says Gregorovius, "that the soul of a heretic of the twelfth century has not yet found rest, but must still haunt Rome." The Catholic Bishop Hefele refused to class him among "real heretics."128  In 1883 Brescia raised a monument to its distinguished son.

The Arnoldists continued for some time to defend the doctrines of their master, and were declared heretics by a council of Verona, 1184, after which they disappeared.

But the idea of apostolic poverty and the opposition to the temporal power of the papacy reappeared among the Spirituals of the Franciscan order. Arnold’s political scheme of restoring the Roman republic was revived two hundred years later by Cola di Rienzi (1347), but with no better success; for Rienzi was murdered, his body burnt, and the ashes were scattered to the winds (1354).





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