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By our forefathers the whole world was divided into Christendom and Heathenness, and when Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire, Christendom practically meant the whole of that Empire as distinct from the rest of the world. The Holy Roman Church and the Holy Roman Empire were thus two different phrases, signifying the same body of people, viewed from their spiritual or their temporal side. In 327 Constantine the Great moved the seat of Empire to Byzantium, which we call Constantinople, but which was then called Rome, which is still called Rome to this day by Mussulmans all the world over. The Rome on the Bosporus instead of the Rome on the Tiber, the eastern Rome instead of the western Rome, became the seat of Empire, and it remained the sole seat until the death of Theodosius. Then the Empire was divided; Arcadius received the Eastern and Honorius the Western provinces. In 476 the last Emperor of the Western provinces, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed; the Senate sent the regalia to the Emperor Zeno at Rome on the Bosporus, and informed him that they no longer required a separate royalty, that Zeno himself would suffice as sole Emperor for both ends of the earth. Thus the Western provinces were reunited with the Eastern, and there was again a single undivided Roman Empire. This continued until the end of the eighth century, when a wonderful change occurred. The Emperor Constantine the Sixth was in 797 blinded and deposed by his mother Irene, who aspired to seat herself on the imperial throne. There had before this been female regents who had ruled while their sons or wards were minors, and even after : Theodora had been crowned Empress when her husband, Justinian, was crowned Emperor; but no woman had ever reigned alone, and in her own right, as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. In 799 Charles the Great, Charlemagne, the Teuton King of the Franks, was called upon to aid Pope Leo the Third, who had been brutally assaulted in a procession, and had been left for dead after his enemies had, as they thought, deprived him of sight and speech. Charles had already delivered Italy from the Lombards; he now came to Rome for the fourth time, the charges against the Pope were heard and his innocence pronounced in full synod, and on Christmas Day Charles, robed in the chlamys and sandals of a Roman patrician, heard Mass in the Church of Saint Peter. After the celebration of the holy mysteries, Leo suddenly placed a precious crown on his head, and the dome resounded with the acclamations of the people, “Long life and victory to Charles, the most pious Augustus, crowned by God the great and pacific Emperor of the Romans”. In that shout, says Mr. Bryce, “echoed by the Franks without, was pronounced the union, so long in preparation, so mighty in its consequences, of the Roman and the Teuton, of the memories and the civilization of the South with the fresh energy of the North, and from that moment modern history begins”.

The throne at Constantinople was vacant through the death of the Emperor without male successor; Charles was therefore regarded as sole Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. His dominion was so wide, his conquests so extensive, that in his day it was almost as it had been in the earlier days of the Empire—to be a Roman was to be a Christian, and to be a Christian was to be a Roman. The successors of Constantine at the Rome on the Bosporus were looked upon as nothing more than mere kings of Greece; and if the continued existence of the Eastern Empire be granted, it virtually came to an end with the Fourth Crusade, for the Paleologi were feeble representatives even of the Comneni, and their Byzantine Empire was a mere shadow of the old Empire of the East. The Holy Roman Empire, as a mighty all-embracing monarchy in which the rule of one man was felt and acknowledged to the ends of the civilized world, was the Empire of Charles and his successors who were crowned at Rome. The terms of the union between Pope Leo and the Emperor Charles were not set forth in words, but they were well known; they were that the Pope should rule the souls, and the Emperor the bodies, of their common subjects in righteousness, the rulers acting together in harmony, to the end that all men might inherit eternal life. It was a noble theory, but impossible of realization in practice. It required a complete accord of the papal and imperial powers; and this accord was attained under Charles and Pope Leo the Third, under Otto the Third and Popes Gregory the Fifth and Sylvester the Second, under Henry the Third, but certainly never thenceforth.

The Emperors came to Rome merely to be crowned with the golden crown; the Popes resided in Rome; theirs was the enduring power in Italy. At first simply the Bishop of Rome, then the sole Patriarch of the West, the Pope had gradually attained to be acknowledged as the spiritual head of Christendom. The Emperor being the temporal head, it was natural that the relation of the two powers should come to be defined. About the middle of the eighth century there appeared the document known as the Donation of Constantine, which was probably composed by one of the priests attached to the Church of the Lateran. This set forth that Constantine, on being baptized by Pope Sylvester, had in his gratitude conferred on the Pope and his successors Rome, Italy, and the Western provinces—that is Lombardy, Venice, and Istria—in order that the lamps of the Roman churches might be supplied with oil. After the death of Charles the Great his dominions were divided among his heirs, and their discord and wars speedily enfeebled the might of the Empire. The strength of the Church was meantime growing owing to the fact that the bishops had hitherto been the main supports of civil and orderly government. A clerical tribunal, an irregular convention of certain Bishops of the Gauls, assembled without proper sanction, deposed Louis the Pious in 833; bishops and clergy, convened in Council at Aix-la-Chapelle, pronounced that the throne of Lothair was vacant in 842. From 858 to 867 there reigned at Rome Pope Nicholas the First, the greatest of the Popes since Gregory the Great. He took up the work, afterwards consummated by Hildebrand, of welding the Church into one vast monarchy subject to the Pope and independent of the civil powers. He insisted on the right of appeal to Rome against the decrees of metropolitans; he put forward this claim, not only in the interest of the clergy, but in order that those of every condition might have recourse to the Roman Church as to their universal Mother, seeking from her the safety of their bodies and their souls. He upheld the primacy of the Papacy against the Emperor and the Patriarch at Constantinople. He interfered on the ground of morality in the divorce of Lothair. He insisted, in the matter of the Bishop Rothade, that the rights of the Church could not be invalidated by the decrees of Emperors. He corresponded with the three sons of Louis the Pious in their separate kingdoms, with Salomon of Brittany, with the King of the Bulgarians, with the King of Denmark, with the Emperor at Constantinople. He led the way to Pope Gregory the Seventh. Shortly before his pontificate there burst forth on Christendom that wonderful forgery known as the Decretals of Isidore. It was an age of forgery, but Nicholas himself made no use of the false Decretals; they were introduced at Rome in the pontificate of John the Eighth (872-882), and thenceforward they formed the armoury from which the Popes drew their arms to enforce the theory of the papal sovereignty. This knavery, says Dollinger, brought about slowly and gradually the complete transformation of the constitution and government of the Church.

The Carolingian line of Emperors ended with Charles the Fat, who died in 888. Then followed certain phantom Emperors in Italy, the last of whom was Berengar, who died in 924. Meantime war and confusion reigned everywhere. The Papacy was disgraced by the Reign of the Harlots; it had lost all authority within Italy; it had lost all respect without; it looked as if the Church Universal were about to split up into a number of merely national churches. The Empire was in suspense; everything demanded its revival. In a time of disintegration, confusion, strife, all the longings of every wiser and better soul for unity, for peace and law, for some bond to bring Christian men and Christian states together against the common enemy of the faith, were but so many cries for the restoration of the Roman Empire. In Germany, Henry the Fowler had been succeeded by his son Otto the Great; and the golden crown was now offered by the Pope to Otto if he would revisit and pacify Italy. He descended from the Alps with an immense army, marched to Pavia, where he was acknowledged King of Italy, and on the 2nd February 962 was crowned Emperor in the Church of Saint John Lateran by Pope John the Twelfth. His Empire was not so vast as that of Charles the Great; it included Germany and two-thirds of Italy, Lorraine and Burgundy, Bohemia and Moravia, Poland and Denmark, perhaps Hungary: there were important differences in its inner structure and character; that kingdom of France, which had its centre at Paris, no longer acknowledged its sway, nor did England. Otto must therefore be considered, not as the successor of Charlemagne, but as the second founder of the Empire, of that Empire which denotes the sovereignty of Germany and Italy vested in a Germanic prince. During the century which succeeded the coronation of Otto the Great the Empire attained the zenith of its power, and held itself highest with regard to Rome.

It was the Age of Feudalism. Before the second half of the thirteenth century there was no political thought; but Rome had taught men to believe in a World-Empire, and Christianity had taught men to believe in a World-Religion; and these two being allied and conterminous, their alliance and interdependence was assumed to be necessary and eternal. The clergy and the realist philosophers alike believed in one universal temporal State and one visible catholic Church. The underlying notion of that portentous fabrication, the Donation of Constantine, is that the Pope must in every point represent his prototype the Emperor; the spiritual power was to imitate and rival the temporal, which was its necessary complement; hence the part which the Holy See played in transferring the crown to Charles, the first sovereign of the West capable of fulfilling its duties; hence the grief with which its weakness under his successors was seen, the gladness when it descended to Otto as representative of the Frankish kingdom.

The relation of the papal and the imperial powers is represented at this time under the emblem of the soul and the body. Just as God ruled over blessed spirits, so did the Pope rule over the souls of men; just as God was Lord of Earth as well as of Heaven, so was he represented in temporal matters by the Emperor; “le Pape et l’Empereur, les deux moitiés de Dieu”. It was this belief in the necessary existence of a conterminous world-empire and world-religion which made the earlier crusades so popular and universal; it was its decadence which rendered the later crusades so petty and abortive. When Otto the Great was crowned he promised to protect the Church against all her enemies, and the Pope and the people of Rome in their turn took an oath of allegiance to him and covenanted not to elect any future pontiff without his sanction. The Saxon and Franconian Emperors thenceforward either nominated the Popes or approved their election; they exercised the right of deposition and of trial of the Head of the Church. They did more; they set to work to cleanse the Augean stable : Pope John the Twelfth, ‘the apostate’, was deposed; Pope Benedict the Ninth, who led a life foul, shameful, and execrable, was degraded; German Popes were appointed. The Papacy was reformed. But the reformed Papacy proved mightier than the Empire; a change in their relative positions ensued. If the might of the Empire was at its zenith during the reigns of the Saxon and Franconian Emperors, the moral glory and influence of the Papacy were at their height during the reigns of the greatest and grandest, the most high-minded and politic Popes, from the days of Hildebrand to the pontificate of Innocent the Third.

Hildebrand himself has been well described as the man in whom were summed up all the grandeur and audacity of the Papacy. From his early days he was imbued with the notion that on the Pope, as the successor of Saint Peter and the representative of the Deity in this world, was conferred the mission of directing humanity; Christ had commanded Peter to feed His sheep, and Gregory took the command to himself. The clergy were sunk in moral degradation; they were stained with simony and concubinage; the Church was in the hands of the German Emperors. Gregory’s life-work was to elevate the clergy, to make them fit to be the guides and rulers of mankind, and to free the Church entirely from lay control. The task was so great that for long he shrank from undertaking it himself. He had left Rome with Gregory the Sixth in 1047, he returned two years later with Leo the Ninth; from the pontificate of Victor the Second (1054-1057) onwards, his was the ruling spirit at Rome. It was he who recommended Victor to the Emperor; Victor’s successor, Stephen the Tenth, was elected at Rome without the participation of Germany. When Stephen died, Hildebrand assembled the cardinals and the principal Romans and elected Nicholas the Second; the election was notified to the Empress, but one of the first acts of the new pontificate was the Bull which provided that in future the Pope should be elected by the College of Cardinals—a deadly blow to the influence of the Emperors. The next Pope, Alexander the Second, was elected without any reference to Germany. The Emperors henceforth lost all authority in the election of Popes. All this time Hildebrand had stood in the background; he was the man behind the papal throne : his influence was universally acknowledged. When Alexander was Pope, Peter Damiani indited to Hildebrand the well-known couplet—

Papam rite colo, sed te prostratus adoro;

Tu facis hunc Dominum, te facit ipse Deum.

On the death of Alexander, Hildebrand in his own despite was raised to the chair of Saint Peter; two days later he was prostrate with trouble and anguish at his elevation.

Pope Gregory the Seventh lost no time in rising to the height of his great mission. Filled with a fiery zeal, he waged unceasingly a holy war for papal supremacy. He aimed to subdue the civil world to the clergy, the clergy to the Papacy, to transform the whole of Europe into one vast theocracy. The bishops were to be his faithful henchmen; he would have no bishop whom he did not know and trust; he did not abrogate the old custom that a bishop should be chosen from the diocese by the clergy and people, but where a fitting man could not be so found, he was ready to recommend an outsider. Almost his first public act, in a synod at Rome, was a declaration of war against simony and the marriage of the clergy. In some countries, certainly in England, in Germany, and in Italy, the majority of the clergy were then married, and the clergy were as a consequence fast degenerating into a closed caste. It was a choice of evils : on the one side was the temptation to illicit connections; on the other, the hereditary succession and the degeneracy of the order. Gregory’s action stirred up strife in the Church and widespread discontent; but he was firm; he stood on the old ways, the weight of authority was on his side. Not that this would have mattered, when once he was satisfied as to his own righteousness; if he unto himself was true, he was ready to use forged decretal or papal letter to explain and impress his meaning on others. He was persuaded that the power of the Pope was ordained of God, that the civil powers took their origin from evil; that it was his mission, therefore, to see that the kings of the earth ruled in righteousness. He sent his legates into every country of Europe; he exacted passive obedience from them toward himself, passive obedience from the clergy toward them. Before he had been two years Pope he excommunicated Italian dukes, he sent an embassy demanding unquestioning obedience from the Emperor in Germany, he threatened to excommunicate the King of France. His quarrel with Henry the Fourth led that monarch to the Humiliation of Canossa (1077); it brought about the long, weary strife of the Investitures. At the synod of Rome, held in Lent 1075, the Pope abrogated the right of the investiture of bishops and abbots by the temporal sovereign; their endowments were to be withdrawn from the nation to the Church; the Pope was to become liege lord of one half the world. The dispute was not settled until long after Pope Gregory had closed his weary eyes, an exile from Rome at Salerno; he had fought valiantly for the Church, but was not conscious of victory. “I have loved justice and hated iniquity, and therefore I die in exile”, were the last words of Hildebrand.

Nevertheless the Empire had been abased, the Papacy had been exalted; for three days in the snow had the supreme Lord of the Holy Roman Empire awaited the beck of the carpenter’s son. Literary proofs to support the Pope’s pretensions were now forthcoming; not merely the False Decretals, but the Dictatus Papae, the works of Anselm of Lucca and of Cardinal Dieudonne, the Liber ad Amicum of Bonizo, followed later by the Polycarpus of Gregory of Pavia, all upheld the doctrine of papal supremacy. The Donation of Constantine had been supplemented by the Donation of Charlemagne. All these falsifications were subsequently (1142) adopted by Gratian and were embodied in his Decretum, or more accurately the Concordantia discordantium Canonum, which swept all its predecessors out of the field and soon won something of the authority that belonged to a definite codification of previous ecclesiastical jurisprudence. The Pope’s claim to the supreme power over king or emperor, power even to depose him if circumstances required, could not, however, have been set forth in more uncompromising terms than were used by Gregory himself to Bishop Hermann of Metz. But Pope Gregory the Seventh, being a politic statesman, was careful how he practised what he preached. The strife as to investitures continued after both he and Henry were dead. The Emperor died excommunicated, and his successor proposed (1111) to resign the right of investiture, provided the bishops and abbots resigned their temporalities. The Pope, Paschal the Second, consented, but the prelates themselves would by no means agree to such a course. Rome was besieged, the Pope yielded the right of investiture, but the Lateran Council went back on his concession, and the Council of Vienne excommunicated the Emperor. Finally the dispute was settled in 1122 by the Concordat of Worms : bishops and abbots were to be elected freely in the presence of the Emperor or his commissioners; the right of investiture by the ring and pastoral staff was to be performed by the Pope, but they were to receive their temporalities from the Emperor by the touch of the scepter. They were to obey the Pope in matters spiritual, and they were faithfully to discharge to the Emperor all duties incident to their principalities. The Pope had been constrained to abandon his contention to make the Church absolutely independent both as to election and as to the possession of vast feudal rights without the obligations of feudal obedience to the Empire.

In the second half of the twelfth century, with the advent of the Hohenstaufen Emperors, the strife between the Empire and the Papacy entered on a new phase. Frederic Barbarossa was to the Empire what Hildebrand and Innocent were to the popedom. He was assured that his temporal superiority obtained over all other powers, even over that of the Pope. His power was of God alone; to assert that it is bestowed by the successor of Saint Peter was a lie, and directly contrary to the doctrine of Saint Peter. To him, as Freeman says, the rights of the Roman Empire were a sacred cause, in whose behalf he was ready to spend and be spent. For thirty years out of the thirty-eight of his reign he was fighting to maintain his rights as King of Italy against the municipalities of Lombardy, which were fast growing into sovereign commonwealths. He was defeated at the battle of Legano (1176); he was obliged to make the peace of Constance (1183), whereby, although the supremacy of the Empire was nominally saved, still the Lombard republics practically became self-governing city-states. In 1159 two Popes had been elected, and the Emperor convened a council at Pavia to decide between rival claims; but Alexander the Third declined to acknowledge the authority. “No one”, said he, “has the right to judge me, since I am the supreme judge of all the world”. Thus began the warfare between the Hohenstaufen and the Papacy which, one way and another, lasted for more than a century.

Frederic Barbarossa made his peace with the Pope at Venice just one hundred years after the Humiliation of Canossa; he took the lead in the Third Crusade, and was drowned in a little river in Cilicia. He was succeeded by his son Henry the Sixth, whose overlordship Richard of the Lion Heart was constrained to acknowledge as he lay a prisoner in the Castle of Trifels. After his death the majority of the electors chose his brother, Philip of Swabia, but the minority chose Otto of Brunswick (1197). The next year was marked by the advent to the papal throne of that Pope whose pontificate marks the culminating point of theocratic power. Innocent the Third, elected when he was thirty-eight years of age, reigned for eighteen years : a consummate lawyer, both in the civil and the canon law; well read, and possessing an excellent memory; prudent and methodical, persevering and laborious, he brought the Papacy to the apogee of absolute power. He expected that the disputed election would be referred to him for his decision: it was not referred. Innocent therefore determined to interfere, and he pronounced for Otto of Brunswick, but it was not until the dastardly assassination of Philip of Swabia in 1208 that the Pope’s nominee obtained the throne, and then he soon quarrelled with the Pope. In 1212 Innocent accepted Frederic, the grandson of Barbarossa, as Emperor; two years later Otto was defeated at the battle of Bouvines, and Frederic was thenceforth undisputed King of the Romans. The Pope had triumphed for the moment. But the turning-point had been reached. The King of France drew a sharp line of distinction between matters spiritual and matters temporal. In his relations to his vassals, in his relations to other kings, he would admit no superiority in the Holy See. The crusaders in the Fourth Crusade were equally deaf to the instructions of the Pope; they turned their arms against a Christian city; they besieged Constantinople itself for the benefit of the Venetians. The Pope tried to start another crusade, but he preached to deaf ears. His letters are measured and circumspect, never imperious.

In spite, however, of this divergence in political ideas, in spite of the divergence in religious ideas which he tried to combat in his crusade against the Albigenses, Innocent pushed the doctrine of papal supremacy to its height. The old symbol of the soul and the body, to exemplify the relationship of the spiritual and temporal powers, was replaced by that of the sun and the moon; the Pope was the greater orb, the Emperor was the less. Their authority was exemplified by a reference to the two swords. When the Son of God came down on earth to save sinful man and to establish His own rule over the kingdoms of the world, He entered, as the time for redemption drew nigh, the garden which is beyond the brook Kedron, and told His disciples that he among them who had not a sword should sell his coat and buy one; to which they answered that they had already two swords. And the Lord answered that the two swords were enough. These two swords are the emblems of spiritual and temporal authority. Both alike belong to the Pope as the successor of Saint Peter : he wields the one sword himself; the second sword is wielded by the temporal authorities for the Church and under the direction of the Pope.

Under Innocent the Third also the famous fiction of the Translation of the Empire was put into authentic form by the decree Venerabilem. It was alleged that the Empire of Charles the Great was the continuation of that universal Empire whose seat Constantine had established at Byzantium, which had become vacant by the succession of the woman Irene, which had reverted therefore to its rightful seat, its title devolving on Charles. The Empire had been transferred from the Greeks to the Franks by the official act of Pope Leo the Third, so that the event of the year 800 was nothing less than a supreme example of the power inherent in the successor of Saint Peter to displace and create Empires.

Frederic the Second, the most wonderful man of his own or perhaps of any age, Stupor mundi et immutator mirabilis, as Matthew Paris styled him, the mightiest and most dangerous adversary that the Papacy ever had, as he is described by Freeman, was when eighteen years of age crowned King of the Romans in 1212, and had taken the Cross; on the 22nd November 1220 he was crowned Emperor by Pope Honorius the Third at Saint Peter’s, and again received the Cross from the hands of Cardinal Ugolino. By his fathers marriage with Constance of Sicily, Frederic was King of Lower Italy and Sicily, but political affairs prevented him from fulfilling his vow before the death of Honorius in 1227. Then Cardinal Ugolino, eighty years of age, became Pope, and took the style of Gregory the Ninth. The Papacy was then at the height of its power; it was, in the words of Hallam, the noonday of papal dominion. The Pope was backed by the league of Lombardy, the Templars and Hospitallers were his sworn champions in the battlefield, the Dominicans and Franciscans were his powerful adherents in peace. Gregory had all the fire, the energy, the ambition of youth; he was a skilled canon lawyer; he knew men and manners; his heart was set on recovering Jerusalem from the Mussulman; he would abate none of the pretensions of Innocent the Third. The Emperor was in character, in aim, in object the exact opposite of his grandfather. Frederic Barbarossa had exhibited the ordinary character of his time in its very noblest shape; but it was still only the ordinary character of the time. Frederic the Second was in every point extraordinary. A sensualist, yet also a warrior and a politician; a profound lawgiver and an impassioned poet; in his youth fired by crusading fervour, in later life persecuting heretics while himself accused of blasphemy and unbelief; of winning manners and ardently beloved by his followers, but with the stain of more than one cruel deed upon his name, he was the marvel of his own generation, and succeeding ages looked back with awe, not unmingled with pity, upon the inscrutable figure of the last Emperor who had braved all the terrors of the Church and died beneath her ban, the last who had ruled from the sands of the ocean to the shores of the Ionian Sea. Between such an Emperor and such a Pope there was bound to be war to the knife. The fight was for supremacy. Like Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great; like Justinian, like the Emperors of the East, the new Emperor would have the Church obedient to the Empire. Frederic was determined to have the Pope his inferior; he was ready, if need were, himself to ordain a much better rule of life and belief to all the nations. He had the credit for being a free­thinker and a misbeliever; his jests scandalized the world; he described Moses, Christ, and Muhammad as the three great impostors; he said that if God had seen fertile, smiling Sicily, He would never have given the barren land of Judaea to His chosen people. Pope Gregory excommunicated the Emperor for not going on crusade; he excommunicated him again when he went, he excommunicated him again when he returned. Frederic went; he won Jerusalem for the Christians, he was obliged himself to put the crown on his own head in the Holy City, for no priest would officiate. His offence was that he had won by diplomacy what others had been unable to win by arms; he had made terms with the misbeliever, and was suspected of being a misbeliever himself. After his return from the Holy Land he managed to make terms with the Pope; there was a hollow peace between Gregory and Frederic for nine years (1230-1239). Then war broke out again; the Empire and the Papacy met in implacable strife; the Pope excommunicated the Emperor; the Emperor called on all the sovereigns of Christendom to make a league against the oppression of the Pope and the hierarchy. Pope Gregory the Ninth died in 1241; and Frederic addressed a circular letter to the sovereigns of Europe, informing them that the Pope had been taken away from this world, and had so escaped the vengeance of the Emperor, of whom he was the implacable enemy. Innocent the Fourth was obliged to flee to France, and held at Lyons, 1245, the Council at which the Emperor was declared deposed; but in spite of all attempts to raise Germany against him, Frederic reigned on undisturbed until his death in 1250.

He was succeeded by his son Conrad in Germany, by his illegitimate son Manfred in Sicily. Still the war between the Papacy and the Hohenstaufen continued. At length Pope Urban the Fourth conceived the idea of a league between the Papacy, France, and Naples: he offered the kingdom of Naples in the first instance to Louis the Ninth; it was accepted by the King’s brother, Charles of Anjou. The triple alliance succeeded; Charles of Anjou came and conquered; Conradin, the last of the Hohenstaufen, the grandson of the Great Emperor, was defeated at Tagliacozzo, and was executed in the market-place at Naples. Thus fell the Hohenstaufen before the Popes. The Holy Roman Empire might, and so far as its practical utility was concerned ought, now to have been suffered to expire; nor could it have ended more worthily than with the last of the Hohenstaufen But it was not so to be. After the fall of the Hohenstaufens the prostrate Empire recognized in principle the supremacy of the Pope; the Habsburgers confirmed the theory that the Pope was the light-giving sun, the Emperor only the pallid moon or lesser light. As the Popes had formerly sent their decrees of election for examination to the Emperor, so the Emperors now sent their decrees of election to the Popes, implored the latter to ratify them and to award them the crown of Charles the Great, which they patiently submitted to receive as a favor from the Pope after he had examined them in person. The triumph of the Church was consequently complete. The Imperial power lay at the feet of the Popes, who, after a memorable trial of more than two hundred years, had scored one of the greatest victories known to history.

After the ruin of the greatest of the German houses, there came the Kaiserless time, the Great Interregnum, during which there was no king in Germany, and the election was disputed between Richard of Cornwall and Alfonso of Castile. Anarchy everywhere prevailed; the great lords, spiritual and temporal, to whom Frederic had granted extensive charters, made war openly to increase their domains; the commercial leagues and the cities, on whose rising fortune he had looked coldly, were forced to protect themselves; the rivers and the highways were infested with robber-knights. With the accession of Rudolf of Habsburg in 1273 the Empire entered on the third stage of its existence : it was shattered, crippled, degraded; but it still remained in the eyes of all a necessary part of the world’s order; and it had furthermore become indissolubly connected with the German kingdom. It had been mighty as a fact, it was still mighty as an idea; it was to inspire Dante and Petrarch; kings were still to cross the Alps to take the iron crown of Lombardy and the golden crown of Empire. But the kingdom of Germany was henceforth terribly overweighed by the burden of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Papacy meantime enjoyed the noonday of its triumph. Gregory the Ninth had affirmed that the Pope was sovereign master of all in the world, and of all their possessions; whatever he might have delegated to emperor or king, his proprietary right remained intact. Innocent the Fourth pointed out that the Donation of Constantine was merely a restitution of what had formerly been given him, that Christ had transmitted to Saint Peter the empire of this world when He bestowed on him the two massy keys of metals twain. Boniface the Eighth, in the Bull Unam Sanctam (1302), again derived the omnipotence of the Pope from the giving of the two swords, one to be used by the Church, the other under its orders, and declared that whosoever did not believe that every human creature was subject to the Pope would be damned everlastingly. It was this same Pope who showed himself to the crowding pilgrims at the jubilee of AD 1300, seated on the throne of Constantine, arrayed with sword and crown and scepter, shouting aloud, “I am Caesar! I am Emperor!”

These far-reaching claims to temporal overlordship at the expense of the temporal powers were for the time successful. Gregory the Seventh had claimed that the Church was entirely free from all bonds of the State, and that the civil power needed not only the assistance, but also the authority, of the Church. Up to the end of the thirteenth century this theory remained practically unquestioned. It was upheld by John of Salisbury, by Saint Thomas Aquinas. Under Gregory and Innocent the Papacy had won for itself the respect of mankind by its moral superiority, by the fair and unimpassioned manner in which it decided disputes among the lay powers of the earth, by its rectitude of purpose and its nobility of principle. It had at this time no temporal power to back its decisions; it rested for the enforcement of its orders on the moral approbation and support of mankind. It was secure above all in the high character of the Popes, in their political ability and discretion no less than in their conscientiousness and virtue. When these qualities failed the Popes the hour of danger came. The high claims of the Papacy required the best, the most virtuous, the wisest of men to enforce them successfully; when lesser men came, who failed to comprehend and to rise to the height of their great mission, then the nature of their pretensions was questioned and disputed. Gregory and Innocent, though the greatest of the Popes, had been alike politic and circumspect; Gregory had given way to William the Conqueror; the Kings of France had been invariably treated with deference. Both these Popes had required the obedience of kings, but they sought not to abase them; they upheld the royal dignity against all save themselves. But it was otherwise with their successors, Boniface the Eighth and John the Twenty-second; they were men of smaller political ability, who failed to read the signs of the times; they were intoxicated with the sense of their own high position; they inherited the pretensions of their predecessors, and rashly and unwisely resolved to push them to their very uttermost limits.

On Christmas Eve, 1294, Benedict Gaetani became Pope Boniface the Eighth; fourteen months later he was at war with the eldest son of the Church. Philip the Fair had diverted to his war against England the tithes levied for the crusade against Aragon. The Pope, on 24th February 1296, fulminated the decretal Clericis Laicos, forbidding the clergy to pay any taxes to the civil power without previous permission of the Pope. Neither Philip of France nor Edward of England paid the slightest attention to the decretal. Philip retorted by forbidding the exportation of any money to Rome. Boniface was at this time at strife with the Colonnas in Rome and with the Aragonese in Sicily. He therefore agreed with his adversary Philip quickly. But in 1301 a second cause of dispute arose, the matter of the Bishop of Pamiers. The Pope sent a fresh Bull, Ausculta Fili, to Philip, which the King burned. Then the French clergy were summoned to Rome for council. But the Popes had, by their excessive centralization and by their favoring the regulars, utterly broken the power and cowed the spirit of the secular clergy, and they with one accord began to excuse themselves. Philip, beaten by the Flemish at the battle of Courtrai, hesitated a little, but then plucked up spirit, and defended himself in his Responsiones. Boniface refused to accept the King’s excuses, declared them frivolous, and threatened him with pains spiritual and temporal. The direction of the matter was left by Philip to Nogaret. Boniface was at his birthplace, Agnani. Nogaret proceeded there, and was joined by Sciarra Colonna and others. Then followed the Outrage of Agnani, two centuries and a quarter after the Humiliation of Canossa. Boniface died shortly after (11th October 1303). Thus it was that the conqueror of the Empire fell beneath the defiance of the French King, Philip the Fair, or more truly beneath the irresistible opposition of a strong national spirit in the kingdoms of Europe. Boniface was unable to see that the pretension to temporal lordship which he put forward had outlived its time, that a spirit was born in the countries of Western Europe which would no longer suffer the Pope’s dominion in matters temporal. The Popes had pretended to spiritual and to temporal lordship; the fourteenth century was to teach them that they had no temporal dominion over the kingdoms of Europe; it was also to contest their spiritual claims. Nearly all the literature hitherto had been on the side of the Papacy, exalting its claims. Now the tide had turned. The claims of the Papacy were to be brought low; the claims of the Empire were to be exalted.

The opposition to the temporal claims of the Papacy naturally first became prominent in France during the strife between Philip the Fair and Boniface the Eighth; there had been very few jurists or political philosophers able to take up the cudgels in Germany for the Hohenstaufen. But in the University of Paris intellectual life and discussion were vigorous. Pierre du Bois, a royal advocate in the bailliage of Coutances, published his treatise, the Quaestio de Potentate Papae, and probably four other treatises also, about the year 1303; John of Paris published his Tractatus de Potestate regia et papali at the same time. Both writers start with the assumption that France forms no part of the Empire, and hence they are able to treat their subjects in a philosophical spirit. Their arguments are derived from the Bible and Aristotle, but passages from the Bible which had previously been understood in a mystical sense are now taken literally. In the Dispute between the Soldier and the Clerk, the former relies on Christ’s words, “My kingdom is not of this world”. “Christ”, he says, “ordained Peter to be priest and bishop, but never dubbed him knight nor crowned him king”; he draws a sharp distinction between spiritual and temporal matters; it is for the Pope to punish sins, for the king to punish crimes; for the latter to enforce civil rights, for the former spiritual; the servants of the Lord should take thought only for what is necessary, they should devote their superfluities to good works; since the King has to take thought for the general safety, he can tax the clergy as well as the laity; he can alter the laws, customs, and privileges of his kingdom as necessity may require. Pierre du Bois regarded the Papacy merely as a state, possessing no temporal authority over France, as a state with which the French King could treat just as he treated with any other state. John of Paris was no less outspoken. He admitted that the Church might own property, but she held it not by virtue of any vicarship of apostolical succession, but simply by way of grant from princes or other persons, or by similar titles of succession. He defines the temporal power as the rule by one of many for the common good; the spiritual power he describes as that conferred on the Church by Christ for the dispensation of the sacraments to the faithful. It is necessary that there should be one spiritual authority over the whole world, but it is not necessary that there should be one temporal power. As Head of the Church the Pope has a limited control over the goods of the clergy, but he has none over the goods of the laity, for Christ had none; if the destruction of the swine be alleged, they were probably wild pigs, and at any rate were not good for the Jews to eat. Christ only gave spiritual power to Peter; He gave him no temporal power; if so, what was the good of the Donation of Constantine? The Emperor possesses a temporal jurisdiction, the Pope a spiritual. If the former falls into sin or unbelief, the Pope can warn him or excommunicate him; if the Pope, on the other hand, practises usury, or otherwise breaks the temporal law of the Empire, the Emperor can warn and punish him, as the examples of Constantine the Second and John the Twelfth prove. The Pope possessed no temporal overlordship; the delivery of the two swords to Peter, which the Papacy had always interpreted in a literal sense, was taken by their opponents in a mystical or figurative sense only, from which no argument could be drawn.

Rather earlier than these works is that of Jordan of Osnabruck, probably about 1285, on the Holy Roman Empire; rather later, about 1307-1310, is the work of the Abbot of Admont; then a year or two after this appeared Dante’s well-known De Monarchia. These writers believed in a world-monarchy as essential for the welfare of the world; they held the existing Empire to be a continuation of that of Rome, and traced it back through Aeneas the Trojan to the fourth great beast spoken of by Daniel the Prophet. The Empire, therefore, dated from a time when Popes and Bishops were unheard of; it was universal; other kingdoms—Spain, France, Hungary, and the like—might be independent of it; but their position established no common law; an Empire was necessary to fight the unbeliever. After Charles the Great had restored to the Church the temporalities rent away by the Lombards, after he had bestowed on it the Duchies of Benevento and Spoleto, Pope Hadrian, in a Council at Rome, had formally acknowledged the King’s right to choose the Pope; and Pope Leo the Third had adored Charles after he had been crowned Augustus Imperator in 800. Christ’s promise to Peter, that whatsoever he bound on earth to be bound in heaven, Dante refers entirely to the spiritual jurisdiction of the Popes ; he rejects the simile of the sun and the moon, and also that of the two swords.

Lupold of Bebenburg took up the theory of Dante, and pressed it to its limits. He began by showing that Charles the Great was a Teuton, that France was one of the countries subject to the Teuton Emperor, and that the translation in the time of Otto was merely a renewal of that in the time of Charles. The Empire had been transferred, not by the Pope, but by the Roman people. The Donation of Constantine was a fiction; all that Constantine had done was to choose a Pope, in order to be anointed by him, and to appoint Rome for his dwelling, while he himself went to Byzantium; but he divided the Empire, east and west, between his sons. The right to elect the Emperor had been derived, not from the Church, but from the princes and people, who had transferred it to the Electors in the time of Otto the Third. Their election gave full right to the King; the Pope’s investigation, prior to anointing and crowning, might in the case of a King who had committed sin and refused to do penance, result in excommunication, and even in his consequent deposition by the Electors. The anointing and crowning by the Pope was not indeed an empty form, for it invested the Emperor with the rightful sway over lands which he had not yet subdued; for the sway of the Emperor extended to the whole world. It was unfortunate that these elaborate theories as to the worldwide extension of the Empire should only have been perfected when the Empire itself was in decadence. Dante’s book was an epitaph instead of a prophecy : so, too, were the works of Lupold of Bebenburg.

After the Outrage of Agnani, and the short pontificate of Benedict the Eleventh, the new Pope, Clement the Fifth, was elected on the 5th June 1305. He was a Frenchman, Bertrand de Got, Archbishop of Bordeaux; he was crowned at Lyons, and never set foot in Italy. Now followed the Babylonish Captivity at the “sinful city of Avignon”; for seventy years the Popes dwelt in the wide windy plain between the Alps and Cevennes; they steadily lost their prestige in the eyes of Europe, and were regarded as the obedient henchmen of the French King. Seven Popes in succession were Frenchmen; all, without exception, were more or less dependent on France. Several of them were excellent administrators; they also pushed missionary effort in the East, and endeavored thus to enlarge the borders of Christendom. But their situation damaged them in the eyes of other countries; the College of Cardinals became preponderatingly French; the Curia was largely officered by Frenchmen; the Pope was compromised in the eyes of the world; he was no longer regarded as the impartial judge, as the supreme Father of Christendom, to whom kings and litigants might look for arbitration and justice. There arose a feeling of antagonism to the Papacy which had thus become of one nation. If the long strife between the Popes and the Hohenstaufen had shaken the belief in the concord and connection of the Empire and the Papacy, the feeling was strengthened when men saw the Papacy become little better than the mere ecclesiastical department of a kingdom notoriously at variance with the Empire. And yet the Popes at Avignon were much more independent in their policy than they were popularly credited with being. The most submissive Pope, Clement the Fifth, by his policy of masterly inactivity, thwarted the wishes of the King of France in the very matter of the Empire. Damaged and battered as the imperial crown might be, the old belief in a world-empire was still strong; it was supported by the clerical character of all culture and by the study of Roman Law. The practical question was now not so much the mere existence as the practical exercise of this empire; was it necessary that it should be always German? If an Englishman and a Castilian had been, might not a Frenchman be elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and with more power, gain a wider and more real sway? Albert of Austria, King of the Romans, was assassinated on the 1st May 1308; Charles of Valois, the French King’s brother, was a candidate for the Empire. Clement saw the overwhelming power which such a choice would give France; he prevaricated and delayed; he would not in so many-words recommend Charles to the Archbishops of the Rhine. The secular electors were equally averse to the choice of a Frenchman. Baldwin, Archbishop of Trier, suggested a compromise: his brother, Henry of Luxemburg, was elected, and France was checkmated (1308). He was crowned Emperor at Rome in 1312; he died in Italy in 1313. Next year there was a double election in Germany.

Clement the Fifth died in 1314; his successor was not elected until 1316. John the Twenty-second determined to urge against the Empire the most extreme claims of the Papacy. He pushed his pretensions further even than Boniface the Eighth. Since Christ had invested Peter with the temporal no less than with the spiritual kingdom of this world, it followed that what the Pope had given, in the Translation of the Empire, the Pope could also take away; and that when the Emperor died the jurisdiction of the Empire reverted to the Pope, and that it was for him to appoint the new Emperor. The Pope, says Augustinus Triumphus, who dedicated his treatise Summa de Potestate Ecclesiastica to Pope John between 1324 and 1328, may choose an Emperor at his own discretion, depriving the established Electors of their privilege, and thus altering the constitution of the Empire. This was the contention of Pope John, and this was the crux of the quarrel between the Popes and Louis of Bavaria. The Germans contended that it was for the Electors to choose the future Emperor, and for the Pope to crown the object of their choice; that in the event of a contested election, it was for the God of Battles to decide between the rival candidates.

Louis of Bavaria had been elected by five Electors, Frederic of Austria by two; and the God of Battles at Muhldorf had decided in favor of Louis. The claim of the Pope was not one which the Electors could pass over in silence. They met at Rense and at Frankfurt in 1338, and resolved that the prince elected by them became King of the Romans without further ceremony, without need for Papal confirmation. Eighteen years later this position was upheld by that good Son of the Church, Charles the Fourth; the Golden Bull passed over in complete silence the Papal claims to veto or confirm an election, or to administer the Empire during a vacancy. Pope John the Twenty-second, however, who even went so far at one time as to determine to oust the Empire from all claim to overlordship or concern in Italy, was firm to obstinacy in his quarrel with the Emperor, and demanded that Louis should resign his crown. This advance in the Papal pretensions took place at a critical time. The Empire had lost its old prestige. France, England, Poland, Hungary, Scandinavia, no longer acknowledged any German overlordship; early in the fourteenth century French jurists had denied in express terms that France formed any part of the Empire. There were reasons, they said, which warranted the Pope’s interference in Germany, which were inapplicable to France or to England, seeing that these countries had not been included in the Donation of Constantine. The Germano-Roman Empire was already in the eyes of foreigners dwindling into a mere German kingdom. It was at this time, when the power of Germany was thus diminished, when the Pope at Avignon was regarded as a virtual dependant of the King of France, that these extraordinary claims were put forward. So vast, so unlimited were the pretensions of John, as of Boniface, that in the countries where a feeling of nationality was gradually rising into existence, where the modern consciousness of patriotism was then taking birth, these pretensions naturally caused revolt, and a serious diminution of the actual power of the Pope necessarily ensued.

The gradual disappearance of the old feeling of citizenship in a world-empire, which was a very different sentiment from modern cosmopolitanism, had allowed room for the growth of the new feeling of nationality. So long as the older and wider sentiment existed, the newer and more local pride in one’s own country could not commence; but with the gradual disappearance of the former, the latter feeling, in countries where the different parts and peoples cohered sufficiently, gradually took its place. In such countries it began naturally where they had been longest separated from the Empire. England was the first country to become distinctly a nation with an independent, self-centred life and policy; Saxons and Normans and Britons had coalesced into one people, and that people had become a nation with a patriotism of its own. The acquisition of the large kingdom of Toulouse toward the close of the thirteenth century allowed a similar feeling to develop in France, but Brittany, and to a lesser extent Guyenne, was still a land apart; and it was not until the time of Joan of Arc that the sentiment of nationality became general. La Pucelle was the godmother of modern France.

In 1344 King Peter of Aragon told Pope Clement the Sixth that in worldly matters he recognized no superior save God; and the same feeling prevailed in Scandinavia and in Hungary. In Italy, however, although loyalty to the Empire was cold and interested, no feeling of nationality took its place; it was supplanted by a narrower sentiment of pride in one’s own city or republic; a man was proud of being a citizen of Florence, Bologna, or Perugia, but he felt no pride in being an Italian. In Germany disruption was general : the man of Bremen had no sympathy with the man of Frankfurt, the Westphalian had nothing in common with the Saxon or the Bavarian. But although Louis of Bavaria had no patriotism at his back to help him in his struggle with the Papacy, he had other and very formidable allies.

The new quarrel between the Empire and the Papacy began in 1323. A year or two later, between the summer of 1324 and the autumn of 1326, Marsiglio of Padua, with the help of John of Jandun, published his Defensor Pacis, a work startlingly modern in its thought and reasoning. So utterly divergent is it from mediaeval sentiment that it is small wonder that Pope Clement the Sixth, when he read it, exclaimed that he had never come across a worse heretic than this Marsiglio. The Italian physician, rector of the University of Paris, was forty-five years of age at this time, a man imbued with the Politics of Aristotle and with the arguments of the French apologists for Philip the Fair; he was in the Middle Age but not of it; a cold-blooded political philosopher, he was of the eighteenth, or of the twentieth, century rather than of the fourteenth. Some of his theories were realized at the Reformation, some in the political revolutions, some are still on the anvil of Time. His work is a defence of the State against the Church. The State is a community to ensure a good life in this world and in the next. The sovereign body is the community of the citizens or the majority of them; and if it be alleged that most men are fools, still a man often grasps an idea when it is put forth by another, and thus understands what he himself could neither have initiated nor discovered. One duty of the sovereign body is to make the laws necessary for the enforcement of right; a law is a rule, by whatever name known, enforced by a sanction. All are entitled to participate in the making of laws except minors, bondsmen, strangers, and women. Laws are best prepared by the old and experienced rather than by handicraftsmen; by them they should be presented to the assembly for discussion, before being passed, amended, or rejected. Another duty of the sovereign body is to appoint their ruler; he should be one who will conduct himself according to their will; he must be clever and capable, and supported by a sufficient body of troops to enforce obedience but not to usurp authority; it is for him to enforce the laws of which the sovereign body or their representatives declare the meaning; his correction and his removal rest with the sovereign body, but his slight deviations from the law should be winked at. All this was fine theory, far ahead of the tildes; it would have been passed in silence by the Church.

The head and front of Marsiglio’s offending was when he came to deal with the relations between Church and State. It is to the interference of the Popes, of Clement the Fifth with Henry the Seventh, of Boniface the Eighth with Philip the Fair, of John the Twenty-second with Louis of Bavaria, that he attributes the trouble and unrest in the world. The Pope has assumed a primacy which Saint Peter never possessed over the other apostles; he bases his claim on the Donation of Constantine, which is vague and obsolete and restricted; on the plenitudo potestatis, which is not warranted by Scripture as pretended. The Emperors formerly regulated the election of Popes; and if they allowed themselves to be consecrated by the Pope, this gave him no more right over them than the Archbishop of Rheims has over the King of France. Christ bestowed on His apostles spiritual powers, but no coercive jurisdiction enabling them to interfere in temporal affairs; His kingdom was not of this world; He ordained His followers to teach His gospel and to administer the sacraments. The power of the keys, the power to loose and to bind, refers only to the sacrament of penance; and here the forgiveness of sins belongs to God alone; the priest cannot forgive a hypocrite nor refuse absolution to a penitent; he is merely the turnkey carrying out the orders of the Divine Judge. The Church is the community of all believers; the laity have as good a right as the priests to be styled viri ecclesiastici; all alike are subject to the temporal law, though bishops and priests ought to be punished more severely than others because they are more enlightened. Sins are to be admonished by the clergy, but their punishment belongs to God, and is reserved for the next world; even heresy can only be punished on earth so far as it is contrary to the temporal law. Excommunication, again, cannot be pronounced by any single priest or bishop; it is reserved for the community or for a general council; for Christ commanded not, when thy brother sin against thee, to tell it to the bishop or priest or the College of Cardinals, but to tell it to the Church. Moreover, all priests should follow their Master in apostolic poverty and in contempt of this world; they should possess no real property; they should have no right to follow personal property into the hands of others; benefices belong to the patrons, not to the Church. The Catholic Faith rests on the Bible only, not on decrees or decretals of Popes or Cardinals; doubts as to the interpretation of the Scripture should be settled by a general council, on which laity and clergy alike sit; the council is convoked by the sovereign body, the Pope as Bishop of Rome presides, but has no coercive jurisdiction beyond what is conferred by the council.

The pretensions of the Popes against the Empire are then discussed. The shortsightedness of the Emperors in allowing themselves to be crowned and anointed had engendered in the Popes the pretension that their confirmation of the choice of the Electors is necessary, thereby making the seven Electors of as little account as if they were seven barbers or seven blind men; the authority of the King is derived from the sovereign body or their proctors. As a matter of fact, such papal confirmation is entirely unnecessary; the right conferred by election is complete and needs no recognition or confirmation by the Pope to supplement it.

“This remarkable work of Marsiglio”, says Creighton, “stands on the very threshold of modern history as a clear forecast of the ideas which were to regulate the future progress of Europe”. With this work in their hands the two students appeared at the Court at Nurnberg. “By God!” said King Louis, “who can have induced you to leave that land of peace and quiet for this warlike kingdom of uproar and trouble?”. They explained. There was a consultation. Finally the King received them with open arms, appointed Marsiglio his physician, and soon installed him as his counsellor. “I am a man of war”, said Louis, “and understand nothing of sciences and learned subtleties”. In 1327 the King entered Italy, and Marsiglio, who was allowed to preach against the Pope, was soon in a position to carry his theories into practice.

On the 17th January 1328, Louis was chosen to be Emperor by the acclamation of the Roman people, and Sciarra Colonna, who twenty-five years earlier had stood in the burning palace of Agnani, his sword pointed at the Pope’s breast, placed the crown of Empire on his head. It was the realization of the theory of Marsiglio; it was also the first time a German King had ever received the sacred diadem from the people of Rome. A public parliament was held on the 18th April, and the Pope was deposed; Peter of Corbara, a Franciscan friar, was elected Pope by the people of Rome on the 12th May, and the Emperor set the crown on his head. Louis, however, was but a pinch­beck Emperor, a mere parody of Frederic the Second; and the proceedings at Rome must have appeared ridiculous in the eyes of all sober Christians. Frederic the Second was a man of moderation when compared with the rash revolutionary Louis of Bavaria. The revulsion soon came. The King was unable to make any headway against Robert of Naples. The fickle Romans turned against him. Louis, the anti-Pope, the anti-cardinals left Rome amid showers of stones, and the dominion of the rightful Pope was at once restored. Disaster dogged the Emperor’s footsteps : his troops mutinied; his adversaries in Germany threatened to set up a new king; he was compelled to leave Italy; his journey to Rome had been utterly unsuccessful; its actual result was the extinction of the last shadow of respect enjoyed by the Empire, and the entire destruction of the dream of Dante and the Ghibelines, who had expected the salvation of Italy at the hands of the Roman Emperor.

Louis had failed disastrously in his Italian expedition, but to his court at Munich there flocked all the most influential thinkers and writers of the day. Michael of Cesena, the General of the Franciscan Order, who counted Pope John a heretic because he exposed the absurdity of their theory of apostolic poverty, composed a Tractate against the errors of the Pope. Like Marsiglio, he upheld a general council as superior in authority; a Pope may err, as many have erred, in faith and morals, but a council representing the Universal Church is free from error. Bonagratia of Bergamo, Ubertino of Casale, Francesco of Ascoli, and his namesake of Marca, Heinrich of Thalheim, Parisian And Italian professors, English and German Franciscans—all were found at the Bavarian court. The most famous of all was the Englishman, William of Ockham, the nominalist leader who had finally settled the controversy of the schools. “Defend me with your sword, and I will defend you with my pen”, was his greeting to the monarch—a greeting which was repeated three hundred years later by a much smaller divine to our own King James the First. Ockham took part in the active resistance to the Pope, and his writings are his defence and justification. He wrote as a mediaeval philosopher, and hence his works, though they lack the modern thought and brilliance of Marsiglio, had much more influence with his contemporaries. He handed down a light which was never suffered to be extinguished, and which served as a beacon to pioneers of reform like Wycliffe and Hus. He also holds that the Pope is fallible, but even a general council, to which women as well as men should be admitted, may also err. Like Marsiglio, William of Ockham was not really in love with the imperial idea; all that is of importance to them is to erect the estate into an organic, consolidated force independent of, and in its own province superior to, that of the spirituality; and this done, they circumscribe even the spiritual part of the papal authority by making it in all respects subject to the general voice of Christendom.

The writings of the refugees, the declarations of the German Electors at Rense and the German Estates at Frankfurt, had shattered the Hildebrandine doctrine of the civil supremacy of the Papacy. Not merely the religious dissidents and the speculative philosophers, but those who were dissatisfied with the moral conditions of the Curia and the clergy, those who were shocked by the pomp and simony, the extortion and sensuality which disfigured the Church, were inclined to group themselves under the aegis of the Empire, its former associate but now its rival. The Empire was still the centre of knighthood, the maker of kings; it had been ruled uniformly for four centuries, from Henry the Fowler to Charles the Fourth, by men of character and energy, who spent themselves freely in the service of the State.

John the Twenty-second died in 1334, just as he was to be summoned before a council for a fresh heresy; Benedict the Twelfth, who would have given his soul to reconcile the Emperor, if he had had another soul in addition to that which was already pledged to the King of France, died in 1342; and at this time Louis took a step which proved fatal to him. Margaret Maultasch, of the Tirol, who had married a son of King John of Bohemia, grew tired of her husband, discarded him, and threw herself on the protection of the Emperor. Louis pronounced her divorce, and according to the theories of Marsiglio of Padua and William of Ockham, he was able to justify this step; but his glaring self-seeking was apparent when he married pock-mouthed Meg to his own son, Louis of Brandenburg. The clergy were up in arms at his assumption of clerical powers, the lay princes were disgusted at the addition of the Tirol to the House of Bavaria. Pope Clement the Sixth was now able to raise an anti-imperial party in Germany; he deposed the Archbishop of Mainz, who adhered to Louis, and appointed Gerlach of Nassau in his place; the three Archbishops, the King of Bohemia, and Rudolf of Saxony then formally elected Charles of Bohemia as King of the Romans. War between the rival monarchs was averted by the death of Louis, while boar-hunting near Munich, on the 11th October 1347.

Charles, the Pfaffen-Kaiser or parson’s Emperor, was now King of the Romans. His succession, however, was not undisputed. The deposed Archbishop of Mainz, and three others who claimed electoral votes, offered the crown to Edward the Third, to Louis of Brandenburg, to Frederic of Meissen, all of whom declined the honor. They finally elected Gunther of Schwartzburg, who accepted it, but died on the 14th June 1350, leaving Charles undisputed King. The new monarch was a man of rare diplomatic ability and of no illusions. He had been with his father in Italy, and knew that Italy was only a clog on Germany. Rudolf of Habsburg had abandoned to the Pope the territories of Matilda of Tuscany. Charles, when he went into Italy, appointed existing rulers to be vicars of the Empire, in the hope that they might thereby acknowledge its shadowy feudal superiority, but he renounced all those territorial rights for which his predecessors had fought. He had also lived in France, and knew the danger of territorial encroachment on that side, and got himself crowned King at Aries in consequence. But his main endeavor was to build up a strong kingdom to serve as a territorial basis for the Empire, which he hoped to make hereditary in the House of Luxemburg; he failed to make the Empire hereditary, but his policy was later successfully pursued by the House of Habsburg and was essentially sound. He won over the imperial cities to his side by the concession of privileges; he won over the House of Habsburg by the marriage of his eldest son Rudolf; he won over the House of Wittelsbach by his own marriage with the daughter of the Elector Palatine; he won over the House of Brandenburg by disowning the false Waldemar. He attempted to make Bohemia the corner-stone of the Empire, transferring the sovereignty from the west to the east; he founded the University of Prague, the first university in Germany, and attracted there thousands of students from all Christendom. He supported the claim of his brother Wenzel to the Duchies of Brabant and Limburg against the pretensions of the Count of Flanders; he secured the succession to the Duchy of Brandenburg and the reversion of the Tirol. The great weakness of Germany was its utter want of political union; the princes had become independent; the spiritual lords were more formidable from their possessions than those of any other European country, and enjoyed far larger privileges; the cities tended to become independent republics, and were always ready to make leagues among themselves regardless of the imperial sanction or interest. Little was now left of the crown lands; the regalian rights had been mostly seized or granted away; the Emperor had the mines in Bohemia and an inglorious traffic in honors and exemptions as his main fiscal resource. Yet with all these disadvantages Charles the Fourth made the Empire stronger and more respected, and he succeeded in leaving it to his eldest and dearly loved son, Wenzel. The greatest achievement of his reign was the Golden Bull.

It was patent to all that the disputed elections caused continual disorder, and that one cause for the disputes was the uncertainty as to the rules of election. This uncertainty Charles rectified by the Golden Bull. Although he himself had admitted the necessity for confirmation of the election by the Pope before the King of the Romans could be crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, yet the papal claims were passed over in complete silence and the electoral resolution of Rense became the law of the Empire; on this point the Pope showed his displeasure, but Charles remained firm. The number of the Electors was to be seven. In the first place were the three great Archbishops of the Rhine: the Archbishop of Mainz, arch-chancellor of Germany; the Archbishop of Cologne, arch-chancellor of Italy; and the Archbishop of Trier, arch-chancellor of Burgundy,—these three represented the German Church. Then came the King of Bohemia, cupbearer of the Emperor; the Count Palatine, who was grand seneschal; the Duke of Saxony, who was grand marshal; and the Markgraf of Brandenburg, who was grand chamberlain. The territories of the Electors were to be indivisible, and were to descend by the law of primogeniture in lineal agnatic succession. The Habsburgs and the Bavarian Wittelsbachs were weakened by the Bull, as also were the cities, which were forbidden to form confederations without the permission of their territorial lords or to admit outsiders to their citizenship. There were defects and omissions in the Golden Bull; there was little that was new; but it crystallized into a constitutional law of the Empire much that was aforetime in part matter of custom, in part matter of dispute. In transferring the balance of power and of civilization to the east of Germany, Charles was influenced by his desire to unite the eastern Slavs with Bohemia and to pave the way for a union between the Latin and Greek Churches. He was harshly described by Maximilian the First as the father of Bohemia, but the stepfather of the Empire; but if his first thought was for Bohemia, he also did his duty by the Empire. He had none of the romantic enthusiasm of his father or his grand­father, but he had what was far better—a strong sense of the practical duties of government, and a strenuous business capacity which enabled him to carry them out. It is true that he failed to maintain the Ghibeline cause in Italy, but he preferred the more solid and substantial aim of building up a territorial monarchy in Germany. He was distinguished among contemporary monarchs for his preference of diplomacy to force, for his strong legal sense and his love of order. Like Edward the First of England and Philip the Fourth of France, he marks the transition from mediaeval to modern ideals and methods of government.

Two months before Charles died (1378) there commenced the great Schism of the West.





Its Popular Side


“The two great ideas which expiring antiquity bequeathed to the ages which followed”, says Mr. Bryce, “were those of a World-Monarchy and a World-Religion”. These two ideas were intimately connected. God had entrusted the care of men’s bodies to the Emperor, His vicar on earth in matters temporal; and the care of their souls to the Pope, His vicar on earth in matters spiritual. The Holy Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Church thus represent two aspects of the same world-wide coextensive rule. In the preceding chapter a brief survey of the Empire at the time of the commencement of the Great Schism has been given; and we have seen how it had shrunk and contracted until it was now merely the Romano-Germanic Empire, with hardly a foothold outside Germany, but with much of the glamour of the old title still attaching to the person and the office of the Emperor. Up to the time of the Schism the Church had preserved its title as the world-religion; Christians everywhere were still united in one religion under one father, the Pope.

Another tie that bound all Christians together was the fact that in their services and worship they all used one language—the language of the Holy Roman Church, which she used then and uses still today. Not only was Latin the language of the Church, it was the language of all educated people throughout Europe. The clergy everywhere talked Latin and wrote Latin; it was the one language of education. At Paris or at Prague, at Oxford or at Bologna, the student heard lectures in Latin, took his notes in Latin, read Latin, wrote Latin, spoke Latin. International intercourse was immensely facilitated by this use of a common tongue. A scholar went from one university to another; he exchanged kindly greetings with the clergy on the way; he was welcomed at the parsonages and monasteries; the use of the lingua franca paved the way for him everywhere. And it was the outward mark of men’s common belief; it enabled the stranger to take his part in the church service ; even the peasant might learn his Pater Noster and Ave Maria. The nations grew up and gradually used their national tongues, dropping the use of Latin; but the Church remained one and indivisible, using the language which had been her own from the beginning.

From the days of the Ottos onwards, the Papacy had been growing in influence and esteem until it reached its zenith in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The greater Popes had striven to realize their high calling as being set in authority over princes and kings who were warring on all sides; they had kept themselves above the smoke and stir of European strife and warfare; they had endeavored to establish an authoritative council of unimpassioned aim and high morality, aloof from the selfish plans and lustful passions of secular princes. Such a tribunal was then sorely wanted, and such a tribunal the Papacy did to some extent supply, enforcing its decrees by spiritual sanctions. The Church in the days of her greatest glory had no military force to support her. The years that lie between the rise of the monks of Cluni and the coming of the Friars, the years from Hildebrand to Innocent the Third, form for the Holy Roman Church an epoch of splendour and glory, an epoch during which her power over the secular lords of the earth was the mightiest, during which her influence for good was most strikingly exercised. Her spiritual claims were justified by the beneficial uses to which they were applied. It was not orthodoxy alone that the Church represented; it asserted also the moral conscience of humanity. It waged war not only with heretics such as the Patarines and the Albigenses; it waged war also with the tyrant, the adulterer, the oppressor. The worst of our Plantagenet kings, the only king thoroughly despicable and contemptible, was John Lackland : Innocent the Third excommunicated him. The most inhuman and barbarous of Italian tyrants was Eccelino da Romano : Alexander the Fourth preached a crusade and sent an army against him. When Philip Augustus deserted his wife, Ingeburg of Denmark, for the beautiful Agnes of Meran, Innocent the Third did not hesitate to excommunicate him. But until the time of this pontiff the Church had no temporal power. She was strong only in the moral force which is given by public approbation. Her voice was effectual only so far as it was re-echoed by public opinion. Her penalties were enforced only where their justice was recognized. With all its defects the Mediaeval Church uttered the only possible protest against the tyranny of an unruly oligarchy ... The authority of the Pope was a useful refuge against the overweening power of the King and lords. And if the Church was thus, for the mighty ones of the earth, a court of equity and good conscience, a tribunal whose decrees were usually respected and obeyed, to the people at large she was a haven of shelter and peace. In the age of feudal warfare, an age of unbridled tumult and ferocity, the highest and holiest aspirations of all were for peace and rest, for quietude and order; and it was because the Church offered a haven of rest to the rich, a haven of refuge to the poor, that she obtained such a firm hold on the affection of the Middle Ages. The high-born lord or lady did not disdain the shades of the cloister; King Rudolfs daughter, Euphemia, became a nun; his son-in-law, Otto, became a monk. In Germany, where the right of private war was universally exercised, many a warrior, weary of strife, must have looked forward to end his days in the peaceful seclusion of the convent walls—

For if heven be on this erthe and ese to any soule,

It is in cloistere (says William Langland),

For in cloistere cometh no man to chide ne to fighte,

But all is buxomness there and bokes to rede and to lerne.

To the men of low estate the Church was their only efficient protector. In dealing with the bulk of the peasantry, and to some extent with the townfolk also, might was right, and the power of the strongest was tempered only by custom. When king or lord oppressed them, if they could not plead custom in their favour, and sometimes if they could, they were bound to submit; the Church alone could help them. While to the man of learning and influence it opened a wide field for ambition, to the poor man of intellect it was the only refuge, the only home, in which he could hope to pursue his study unmolested and to reap some reward of his labour. Eight at least of our own Archbishops of Canterbury, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, were of humble parentage. The Church was open to all alike; any man of free birth could become a clerk; and there are numberless instances in which serfs paid fine to their lords for permission to send their sons to school in order that they might be admitted to the ranks of the clergy. Once admitted all were theoretically equal; and although in Germany the higher posts in the Church were closed against all who were not of noble birth, although in England there was a prejudice against cobblers' brats becoming priests and bishops—

For shold no Clerk be crouned bote yf he ycome were

Of franklens and free men and of folke yweddede,

says Langland, still there was a wide field practically open to merit and ability. The highest offices and dignities of the Church were open to all the sacred orders, to every Christian clerk alike. Pope Gregory the Seventh was the son of a carpenter, Benedict the Twelfth of a baker, Nicholas the Fifth of a poor doctor, Celestine the Fifth of a peasant, Urban the Fourth and John the Twenty-second of cobblers, Benedict the Eleventh of a shepherd, and Alexander the Fifth and Adrian the Fourth were beggars. In those iron ages, when brutal force was everything, it was surely much, as M. Sabatier has said, that the Church could point to peasants and workmen receiving the humble homage of the lords of the earth, simply because they were seated on the chair of Saint Peter and represented the moral law. Moreover, the influence of the Church over all Christian souls was very thorough, very impressive, very far-reaching. In those days, when in matters of faith all were of one belief, when in matters of ceremony all were of one observance, the Church breathed a spirit of common brotherhood which it is well-nigh impossible for us nowadays to comprehend. We have no horror of schism; we live amid a thousand jarring sects; religious and political strife and variety are to us as the breath of our nostrils; but in the Middle Ages it was not so, neither in politics nor in religion. The men of today, therefore, find it difficult to sympathize with those who lived then; they cannot understand the fascination which the idea of one all-embracing, all-pervading church exercised upon their mediaeval forefathers. A life in the church, for the church, through the church; a life which she blessed in Mass at morning and sent to peaceful rest by the vesper hymn; a life which she supported by the constantly recurring stimulus of the sacraments, relieving it by confession, purifying it by penance, admonishing it by the presentation of visible objects for contemplation and worship—this was the life which they of the Middle Ages conceived of as the rightful life for man; it was the actual life of many, the ideal of all. Thus, in the days of its greatest splendour and glory, the influence of the Holy Roman Church was beneficent, and was felt by all to be so; it represented what people wanted. There never was a power which could claim more entirely to rest upon public opinion than could the papal power at its best.

But toward the end of the fourteenth century the papal power was no longer at its best. It had formerly been a purely spiritual power, enforcing its decrees by spiritual sanctions alone; but since the beginning of the thirteenth century it had altered its position, and had become a temporal power also, having acquired the States of the Church. The two great world-powers, the Empire and the Papacy, had very little force of their own to back up and carry out their decrees. They were dependent on public opinion, on the might of others. The Emperor might issue his ban, the Pope might issue his interdict, but the carrying into effect of these punishments depended on the will of the subordinate powers on the spot. The might of the Empire rested on the goodwill and obedience of its dignitaries, just as the might of the Papacy rested on the goodwill and obedience of the countries of Christendom. In proportion as the obedience of its subordinates became more precarious, so each world-power came to feel the need for some more constant and trustworthy support; each Emperor, Salian or Swabian, Habsburg or Luxemburg, tried to fashion for his family some secure territorial basis on which its permanent power might be indefeasibly grounded. Just in the same way, and for the same reason, did the Popes seek to secure territorial sovereignty by the acquisition of the States of the Church. This, however, necessarily brought the Papacy down to a lower moral level: a Pope fighting for his own territorial sovereignty or aggrandizement was a different matter, and no longer appealed to the imagination and sympathy of mankind as did a Pope fighting for the higher policy, the liberal ideas, the moral aims of the Church. In other respects it may have been a matter of comparatively small moment at the end of the fourteenth century that the Papacy had become a temporal power, although later, in the sixteenth century, in the storm and stress of the Reformation, it was the possession of the Papal States which probably saved the Papacy from being reduced once again to its original condition of a mere Italian bishopric. For good and for ill the Papacy had taken rank among the temporal powers of Europe, and had its temporal as well as its spiritual aims to pursue.

While it had thus become a temporal power, the Church had already become the greatest landowner in Christendom. Religion, which had at first been a question of morals and had then been a question of orthodoxy, had, from the seventh century onwards, become in the main a matter of munificence to convents. The early Kings of England, the Merovingians and the Carlovingians in France, the Saxon Emperors in Germany, the Kings of Leon, had all been prodigal in their gifts of land; the abbeys had profited even more than the cathedrals. Men believed in Hell in those days, in a “Hell where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched”; and many a dying man was ready to secure a better chance after death, many a widow was ready to improve the fate of her husband, by diverting part of his worldly wealth into the coffers of the Church. Purgatory was the lot of all true believers, and the fires of Purgatory, necessary though they might be, were as bad as the fires of Hell. But the pains of the dead could be shortened by the prayers and good works of the living; hence in all monasteries, whenever any one belonging to it died, the death-knell was rung, and though it were the depth of night, no sooner had they heard that well-known bell swinging forth slowly and sadly its mournful sounds, than all the inmates of that house arose and knelt down by their bedsides, or hurried to the Church, and prayed for the soul of the brother or sister that moment gone. Kings founded monasteries for their ghostly weal; cathedrals and parish churches pledged themselves that a certain number of Psalms should be sung and a certain number of Masses be said; chantries were endowed in perpetuity or for a limited period for the offering up of the Mass after the founder's death. Indeed, so universal did the practice become of leaving a part of one's goods to the Church, that mere intestacy was regarded by the clergy as a fraud, and the Bishop of Lisbon and his subordinates in the days of Saint Francis actually refused to perform the funeral services for anyone who had not left one-third of his wealth to the Church.

But for the fiefs which abbeys paid to their lay advocates for protection, and but for the rapacious spoliations to which they were subject at the hands of brutal and unprincipled warriors, it seemed as if the Church would gradually engulf all the lands of the kingdoms of Europe. As it was, the proportion of lands held by the Church was in some countries more than one-half, and in all not less than one-third. The end of the twelfth century was the time of most profuse liberality; after that, as the mendicant friars rose in favour and the monks gradually lost their popularity, the tide of generosity fell lower and lower; but at the close of the fourteenth century the Church was still the greatest landowner in every country of Christendom. The wealth of the Church in Germany was conspicuously great. In 1111, King Henry the Fifth had proposed to the Pope to end the strife about investitures by taking from the German prelates their landed estates, and leaving them only their tithes and offerings; Paschal the Second had consented; but the German clergy, through their primate the Archbishop of Salzburg, declared that anything was preferable to seeing the Church thus spoiled of her inheritance. The proposal therefore came to naught; the prelates still continued to be feudal lords. The three great Archbishops of the Rhine not only thus held their vast estates, but were ever on the lookout to add to their strength; their position as Electors of the Empire enabled them at the time of elections to drive unconscionable bargains with the candidates for Empire. Perhaps the hardest bargains of all were those which the Archbishops of Cologne and Mainz made with Adolf of Nassau and his two successors. The Bishops also, almost universally throughout the Empire, donned coat of mail as readily as cassock; they were ever ready to enlarge their sees, their privileges, their immunities. The position of an exalted ecclesiastic was eagerly sought for by the German nobles; and it was part of the policy of successive Emperors to prevent two of the great archbishoprics being held by members of the same noble family. They were not always able to hinder such an accumulation of influence in the hands of a single house : when Kuno of Falkenstein was Archbishop of Trier in the days of King Wenzel, his nephew, Frederic, was Archbishop of Cologne. The German prelates again, unlike those of England and France, when once they were in secure possession of their sees, frequently wavered in their allegiance to their feudal lord paramount; while their obedience to their spiritual father, the Pope, was equally precarious and uncertain. Innocent the Sixth failed to procure any pecuniary assistance for his wars in Italy from the three Archbishops of the Rhine or from the Archbishop of Salzburg. When Pope Boniface the Ninth granted two-tenths to King Rupert, he found it impossible to levy the tax. And the clergy of Germany were often as refractory to their bishops as were the bishops to the Pope.

Before noticing the state of the Church at the end of the fourteenth century, it will be well to form some idea of its extent, and of the principal points in which it differed from the Church of the present day. In extent, taking the term in its widest signification, the Church coincided with the Empire : it embraced the whole body of the faithful, the whole Christian world considered on its spiritual side. Taken in its narrower sense, as including the pastors and not the people, the Church still embraced the whole body of clerks or clergy, practically the whole of the population which earned its bread by its brains rather than by the sweat of its brow; the whole body, with some exceptions, and those chiefly in Italy, of what we now call the learned professions. “In the North of Europe”, writes Mr. Rashdall, “the Church was simply a synonym for the professions. Nearly all the civil servants of the Crown, the diplomatists, the secretaries or advisers of great nobles, the architects, at one time the secular lawyers, all through the Middle Ages the then large tribe of ecclesiastical lawyers, were ecclesiastics”. The distinction meant much, for it corresponded to a cleavage in jurisdiction. Every clerk was personally outside the jurisdiction of the secular courts. In every country of Christendom alongside the secular courts were the courts spiritual. The jurisdiction of these courts extended to the persons of all clerks, to every one who wore a tonsure; it extended also to all spiritual causes, not only to those strictly concerned with matters of faith and discipline, but also to all cases in any way connected with marriage, with church property, with wills, or with perjury; it extended also to crimes against religion, to crimes committed in holy places, to violations of the edicts against taking interest, and to breaches of the Truce or Peace of God. The spiritual courts were far more popular than the secular courts; the judges were more learned, the procedure was more reasonable, justice more easily obtainable, and the punishments milder; consequently contracts were made binding by oath in order that their non-obervance might be treated as a case of perjury, and laymen got barbers to give them the clerks crown in the hope of coming within the jurisdiction of the spiritual rather than of the secular court. The canon law was everywhere the personal law of the clerk, and it had the advantage of being accompanied by a procedure simpler, milder, and more rational. Whether there was or was not much to choose between the substantive law of the systems, the adjective law of the one was civilized, while that of the other was semi-barbarous. We have to take ourselves back to a state of society in which a judicial trial was a tournament and the ordeal an approved substitute for evidence, to realize what civilization owes to the Canon Law and their Canonists with their elaborate system of written law, their judicial evidence, and their written procedure. In those days, as in the civil courts now, a man could not get justice without paying for it; and the battle between the rival jurisdictions was to some extent a battle for fees and fines. Perhaps the most important point in the great share which the Church then took in the purely judicial work of a country was that the ultimate appeal in all spiritual causes lay to the Pope.

“Religious life in the Middle Ages”, writes M. Jusserand, “had not the definite visible boundaries which we see today; now a man either belongs to the Church or he does not; but there was nothing so sharply cut then. Religious life stretched across society like an immense river without banks, with numberless affluents, with underground streams, impregnating the soil even where it did not wash it”.

“In the Middle Ages”, writes Mr. Trevelyan, “the Church administered whole sides of life which have since been put into the hands of the secular government or left to the discretion of the individual” (England in the Age of Wycliffe). It was necessarily so when all the educated classes of the country other than those engaged in war, in commerce and industry, were practically confined to the ranks of the clergy. Wherever the services of an educated man were required, a clerk must be taken. The clergy were in request in business houses as clerks and scriveners, and on estates as stewards and accountants. The household of a great noble, like John of Gaunt, included scores of their number: his chancellor was the Bishop of Salisbury, his chief physician was Appleton, a Franciscan Friar. There were numbers of clerks everywhere in the royal service—

Bischopes and bachelers bothe maistres and doctours, . . .

Some serve the Kyng and his silver tellen,

In cheker and in chancerye chalengen his dettes . . .

And some serve as servants lordes and laydes,

And in stede of stuwardes sytten and demen.

The Roman Catholic religion has always maintained a close hold on the everyday life of its people; but in the Middle Ages, when the proportionate number of the clergy was so very much greater, there was necessarily much more intimate friendship and intercourse between the lower ranks of the clergy and the mass of the people than is possible now. Church festivals, and the village rejoicings connected with them, were more numerous; some of those which were then of most significance, such as the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (14th September), have now lost their first importance. In the Middle Ages a religious feast was above all else a representation, more or less faithful, of some Bible story or some saintly legend; others were of half-pagan, half-religious origin; but into them all the sub-deacons and deacons entered with boyish glee. Numerous are the instances in which they are reproved by their bishop or even by the Pope for leading the van in some such ceremony which tended to throw discredit on the Church, but which was dear to the souls of the people and to the ranks of the lower clergy. A short reference to some of those feasts which have now fallen more or less into disuse will not be out of place.

In the first half of the fourteenth century, when the peasantry everywhere were prosperous, there was much jollity and happiness in their lives, so long as the piping days of peace were on, for all religiously took part, and the children often took a special part of their own, in the round of festivals which marked the course of the year. Some of these merry observances have altogether disappeared, others have fallen more or less into disuse and forgetfulness. The ‘Liberty of December’ was in France and other countries a time of universal feasting and merriment, of dance and song. Then were held the ‘Feast of Fools’, derived from the old heathen festival of the Kalends of January; and the ‘Feast of Asses’, in which ‘little brother Francis’ took such innocent delight. At the Feast of Fools, songs not the most decorous were sung; men dressed up as old women, or as calves or stags, bishops and archbishops, joined in the Christmas games in the monasteries; a Pope of Fools and two cardinals were elected and endued with the sacred robes, the matins were travestied; they danced in the choir, they diced on the church-floor. This feast, which was sometimes called the Feast of the Sub-deacons, was held on the Day of the Circumcision. The Feast of the Ass was originally held on Christmas Day. In this also masks predominated : Jews and Gentiles, Moses, Aaron, and the Prophets, Vergil and Nebuchadnezzar, but the most popular figure was Balaam on his Ass. Nebuchadnezzar delivered over the three children to be burned in a fire made of tow and linen in the nave of the church. Balaam was met by a young man with a drawn sword; a man under the donkey called out ‘Cur me calcaribus miseram sic laeditis?’ and the angel bade Balaam ‘Desine Regis Balac praeceptum perficere’. In the diocese of Beauvais the feast was held on the 14th January. The finest donkey that could be found was led in procession through the town, superbly caparisoned; a young girl, richly dressed, with a child in her arms, was seated on it, to symbolize the Flight into Egypt; they were met by the clergy and conducted to the door of the church or cathedral, and High Mass was said with great pomp. A Latin hymn was sung to announce the object of the festival—

Today is the day of gladness,

Away all thoughts of sadness,

Envy and grandeur away;

We will rejoice with heart and voice

For we keep the Ass's Feast today.

The donkey was then led to the high altar, having been taught to kneel at the proper place, and the precentor chanted a Latin refrain—

Orientibus partibus,

Adventavit Asinus,

Pulcher et fortissimus,

Sarcinis aptissimus,

Hee haw! Sir Ass! Hee haw!

Hie in collibus Sichen,

Enutritus sub Ruben,

Transiit per Jordanem,

Salut in Bethleem,

Hee haw! Sir Ass! Hee haw!

Then the whole congregation joined in the chorus, very likely the ass himself taking up the refrain—

                  Hee haw! Sir Ass! Hee haw!.

When the ceremony was ended, the priest, instead of the usual words with which he dismissed the people, brayed three times like an ass, and the people, instead of the usual response, “We bless the Lord”, brayed three times in the same manner.

The Feast of the Ass has now entirely disappeared, and of the Feast of Fools nothing but the Christmas-boxes and the holly and ivy at Yule Tide now remain. The Christmas rejoicings in German villages nowadays retain but a faint reminiscence of the time when festivities began three days before Christmas with the children going round from house to house, singing and telling the glad tidings of the coming birth of Our Lord, when the festivities continued day after day, each with its appropriate festival, over Saint Stephen’s Day, over the Day of Saint John the Evangelist, until on the Day of the Holy Innocents a troop of mock devils scampered through the streets on the lookout for any pretty child or maiden. On New Year's Eve boys sang in the streets, ringing bells and making merry all through the night, and collecting much money withal; and on New Year's Day presents were given to the female members of the family and to the women servants and their children. During the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany the houses were fumigated to scare away evil spirits, and the weather was carefully noted as prognosticating that for the coming twelve months. The rejoicings peculiar to Christmas came to an end at Epiphany, when the Feast of the Three Kings was kept with great merriment throughout Germany: every house chose its king by a pfennig dropped in the honey-cake after the manner of the coins and thimbles dropped into our plum-puddings; a bean-feast was held at which every one drank his fill at the expense of the king of the feast; the school­boys carried lights to ward off misfortune of Saint Blasius’s Day. Another incident peculiar to our own Christmas was then observed on Saint Nicolas's Day (December 6th), before which the children used to invoke the Saint's favour by fasting so rigorously that their parents were often afraid lest they should do themselves an injury; for it was Saint Nicolas, our own Santa Klaus, who put presents into their little shoes. On this same day, too, was selected the Boy-Bishop, who donned cope and mitre and collected his revenues until he preached his sermon and gave up his crozier at the Feast of Holy Innocents.

It was but natural that the times of chief observance should be those of Our Lord's birth and of His death and resurrection; but there were many other seasons of joy and mirth through the year. Of these the principal was the Carnival, just before Lent. Italy was then, as now, celebrated for the gorgeous pageantry of its processions; Germany was satisfied with an occasional sledge or a 'ship of fools', but there was no end to the masking and mumming. Men dressed as women, women as men; some disguised themselves with red lead and ink as satyrs or devils; every one sought to invent some new device; they Aasted, they drank, they danced, they held long processions, they bantered the girls; they played the good old game of the Blind Men and the Pig. Twelve blind men, well primed with food and drink, were introduced, armed in old armour, with helmets awry and cudgels in their hands, into an enclosure, and a sturdy pig was let loose among them; they tried to belabour the pig, which rushed hither and thither, knocking them down and causing universal confusion; then a bell was put round its neck, and finally the porker, more tired out by heat and exertion than by the blows, was captured and killed. In some parts of Swabia on Ash Wednesday a harrow was dragged through the Danube by the young men and maidens. In Franconia the girls were yoked to a plough by their swains, and a piper drove the team into the river, to give them a salutary ducking for their levity during Carnival. At Whitsuntide in Germany the custom, observed during the Rogation Days in England, was kept up; a procession, singing the Litany, started from the church and proceeded round the fields, the priest carrying the Host in front and praying to God to ward off all danger from the crops. In England a dragon with a formidable tail was earned the first two days in front of the procession, and on the third day, without its tail, in the rear. The eve of Saint John the Baptist's Day was an occasion for bonfires, for singing and dancing; young men and maidens crowned their heads with mugwort and verbena, and carried larkspur in their hands pines were brought from the forest and planted in the village green; the girls procured clay vessels, full of holes, filled them with rose-leaves, put a light in them, and hung them at their gables. On Corpus Christi Day there was another procession of the Host, and mummery almost amounting to a miracle-play, in which devils and saints, male and female, took part, and the streets were strewn with roses and hung with may-blossom; the whole concluding with a procession round the corn-fields, headed by the priest, who sang the gospel over the new corn. On the Day of Saint Vitus hens were offered to ward off cramps and poison; on the Day of Our Lady's Ascension, fruits and herbs to keep away sickness and plague; on Saint Martin's Day it was the custom to eat a goose. There were special observances connected with the vintage. On Saint Urban’s Day (May 25th) the growers set a table in the market-place, adorning it with leaves and sweet-smelling herbs and putting a small statue of the Pope thereon. The weather on this day was taken as a prognostic of the coming summer : if it was fine, the statue was crowned with leaves and obeisance done to it; but if it was rainy, it was bedaubed with mud and soused with water. Then, when the grapes were ready, not a husbandman thought of beginning his picking until he had been authorized by the lord of the tithe, and due provision had been made for the collection of God's tenth of the produce; the grapes then were picked, and finally the children came with their torches to cleanse the fields and burn out the old harvest. Every one was expected to taste the new wine—even the poor had their share. When the agricultural operations of the year were thus connected with religious observances, when Church festivals constantly recurring called for the participation of all the villagers, when the social and political life of the town or village centred in the Church, when there was one form of devotion for all alike, when every man attended the Church to which he belonged and was restricted to that Church, it is evident that the Church must have been much more constantly before men's minds and in their hearts, that it must have been much more intimately bound up with their daily lives, that its welfare must have formed a much more important consideration to them and have meant much more to them in the Middle Ages than it does today.

The Church was emphatically the Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages. During the Dark Ages, from the time of Charles the Great to the eleventh century, education was in the hands of the Benedictine monks, and every famous monastery had two schools, one claustral, for the young religious, and the other for outsiders. Then came the dawn of a brighter time. Not only every abbey, but every cathedral also, and many of the larger churches, had each its own school. The famous cloisters of France, before the rise of the University of Paris, were frequented by scholars from Germany, Denmark, Italy, and England; the University itself sprang from the Cathedral School of Paris. The smaller schools taught only reading, writing, and a little singing; song-schools were attached to every cathedral for the instruction of the choristers. The aim of instruction for the lower ranks of the clergy was to enable them to read the Bible and the Fathers, and to meditate thereon. But education at the larger, or Latin, schools was more ambitious; the course, which might in these days be termed the first and the second Arts course, was then known as the Trivium and the Quadrivium. The Trivium comprised grammar, rhetoric, and logic; the Quadrivium comprised arithmetic and astronomy, necessary to the clergy for the determination of Easter, music, a half-mystical doctrine of numbers and the rules of plain-song, and geometry, a selection of propositions from Euclid without the demonstrations. Grammar included the study of the classics; under rhetoric certain treatises of Cicero were largely read; but the heart and centre of the secular education of the time in Northern Europe was the study of dialectic or logic, the science of right reasoning, which took a wide range and introduced the student to the ever-engrossing controversy between the Realists and the Nominalists. After the days of Anselm the monasteries began to close their doors to lay students, and to provide for their own people alone; the care for education was transferred from the regular to the secular clergy, a change which was helped by the advent of the friars and by the rise of the universities; although even in the first half of the fourteenth century every son of the soil in France, who made his way to name and fame, had received his early education at some monastic school. The cathedrals and churches took up the work which the monks, in their selfishness, were dropping; the chancellor of a cathedral was responsible for the appointment of the schoolmaster and for the regulation of the studies. Priests were enjoined to establish schools for gratuitous instruction in the villages; in these the children learned their catechism, reading, writing, a little arithmetic and grammar; such schools were in England often held by chantry priests. In this way, up to the end of the thirteenth century, the education of the people, save in Italy, remained almost entirely in the hands of the clergy; boys were sent to school, girls were sent to a nunnery, or had private teachers. In Italy, however, although church schools existed, the old race of lay teachers never died out, even in the Dark Ages, and when the revival came, its effects were most conspicuous in the schools of the independent lay teachers. In Germany and Holland also, during the fourteenth century, lay masters established schools in many of the cities, where the demand of the merchants and artisans for education was greatest. But with such occasional exceptions the Church did the whole work of education.

If the Church was the Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages, she was, for the great majority of the population, the Physician also, although in this good work they had for rivals the Jew and Arab physicians at one end of the profession and the barber-surgeons at the other. From the fourth century onward the Church had taught and practised the art of healing : when the temples of Esculapius, Hygeia, and Serapis were closed, Christianity opened its churches and monasteries to the sick. The monks possessed a large number of traditional recipes; they made use of medicinal herbs for wounds and bruises. The competition with the Arabs and Jews compelled them to further study; they travelled to acquire practice and knowledge; they accompanied crusades and armies as doctors. Hospitals were attached to the monasteries and large churches; hospitallers, brothers and sisters, were trained to tend the sick; a code of hygiene was formed. The Emperor Henry the Second went to the monastery of Monte Casino to be treated for stone. The eleventh century had seen a large increase in the number of hospitals and lazar-houses; it had also seen the rise of different orders devoting themselves to special diseases : the Brothers of Saint Antony applied themselves to bowel complaints and cases of dysentery; the Knights of Saint John and the Brethren of the Holy Spirit treated especially those who had fallen victims to pestilential epidemics; the Brethren of Saint Lazarus held sovereign specifics against small-pox and leprosy; the Templars tended warriors, pilgrims, and travellers suffering from ophthalmia, scurvy, or dangerous wounds. Surgeons, trained in the monastic schools, were engaged in the Low Countries, in Italy and Germany, by the richer and larger towns for the service of charity. In France, in the thirteenth century, it was no longer necessary for a student of medicine or surgery to be a clerk; the profession was opened, and the minor surgery fell into the hands of the barber-surgeons. The barbers gradually usurped the functions which had previously been reserved to the clergy, and at the end of the fourteenth century there were three recognized orders of practitioners in France; the physicians ‘of the long robe’, the surgeons ‘of the short robe’, and the barbers; and the latter were allowed to wear swords, and were excused all duty on the night-watch. The medical schools of Montpellier and Paris were by this time formidable rivals of Salerno and Bologna; France and Italy were far ahead of Germany and England in medical science. John of Bohemia was so unskillfully treated that he flung his physician into the river Oder, being righteously determined that he should do no further harm to any man. Sigismund of Hungary, like Albert of Austria and Wenzel of Bohemia before him, and like another Albert of Austria his contemporary, was hung by the heels for twenty-four hours to allow poison to trickle out of him; Edward the Third of England, when a boy, was wrapped in red cloth to cure small-pox; and the court physician who treated him prescribed an ointment made of crickets, beetles, and common oil to cure the stone. Another recipe for the same complaint was to take gromel, parsley, red nettle, violets, incense, and cherry-stone kernels, to bray them together and to mix them with stale ale as a healing-draught. A third method of dissolving stone was to take the white stones from the maw of a cock twelve months old, to bray them in a mortar with an iron pestle, and to mix them with wine. Some of the recipes were harmless enough, and perhaps not the less efficacious : sore throats were steamed with boiling cinquefoil water; excessive sweating was cured by binding linseed and lettuce, stamped well together, on the stomach; while a sufferer from tertian ague was directed to eat a hot barley-cake and to drink copiously of good wine when the fit was coming on, then to drink a decoction made of plantains brayed in wine and water, and to compose himself to sleep. A hare's gall in pottage would make a man sleep for three days; southernwood brayed in wine would stop him from talking in his sleep; violet-water would cure his broken bones; centaury brayed and mixed with wine and water would cure snake-bite; while goats' claws burned to powder in a new pot and eaten with pottage were a sovereign remedy against incontinence of urine. Some of their recipes were sufficiently fanciful : barley-bread and mustard-soup eaten with sage fasting, were prescribed for palsy; aloes and opium, brayed and mixed with the milk of a woman who was suckling a man child, formed an ointment for blindness; pig's fat, hen’s fat, white of an egg, and darnel meal were the ingredients for an ointment for white faces; and any one who had red eyes was recommended to take a large red snail, to prick his back all over and rub salt in, to catch the liquor which exuded, and to use it as a salve. Those who suffered from worms were instructed to make a candle of virgin wax, with which henbane, wild celery, and pimpernel had been mixed, to light the candle and hold it in the mouth until the teeth got hot, when the worms would surely drop out. A costive man had a parlous time: mallows and mercury were seethed under a gobbet of pork, and he was required to eat the pottage made thereof, and to drink therewith white wine or whey, ‘and he shall be soluble’. The foregoing examples give some idea of the state of medical science and skill in England at this time. Chaucer’s Doctour of Physick, “a very parfit practisour”, clad in sangwin and in pers, worked by the rules of natural magic and astrology. It was to the careful tending and patient nursing that they bestowed, to the hygienic treatment and simple drugs and herbs which they used, that the monks owed most of their success in the science of medicine.

Thus far we have noticed the Church of the Middle Ages only in some of its wider aspects; we have seen how largely it bulked on the horizon, how intimately it was connected in various ways with the life and welfare of the people. But we have not yet considered the different orders, secular and regular, of which it was composed, nor the abuses which had gradually risen in its midst, impairing its efficiency, and arousing a widespread feeling of unrest in the minds of its most earnest followers. They recognized that the clergy were the salt of the earth; but if the salt were to lose its savour, wherewith should the world be salted?


(2) Seculars and Regulars


We have glanced at the position of the Holy Roman Empire at the commencement of the Great Schism of the West; we have now to consider the state of the secular and regular orders in the Holy Roman Church at the same time.

The most glorious years of the Papacy extended, as has been said, from the days of Hildebrand to the pontificate of Innocent the Third. These mighty pontiffs endeavoured to establish the Church in the beauty of holiness, to make it a guide and exemplar to all, a centre of purity bringing peace and healing on its wings; they sought to bring all the kingdoms of the world in subjection to themselves in order thereby to induce a universal reign of holiness. But they had aimed too high; they had not made sufficient allowance for the frailty of human nature. They were able almost everywhere to enforce a nominal rule of celibacy on the clergy, but they were unable to procure their chastity; it was celibacy tempered with concubinage; it was a common thing for the priest to pay to his bishop the tribute known as cullagium to be allowed to keep his concubine in peace. The Pope was rightly the supreme judge in matters of faith and doctrine, but in matters of discipline they had centralised too strictly. They had rendered the bishops so subservient, that they had lost all respect and authority in their own dioceses; the abbots also would decide nothing for themselves. The veriest trifles of discipline were submitted to Innocent the Third for decision: points of grammar, the correct attitude in the choir, the refectory, the dormitory, the shape and size of a bed coverlet—all such matters the Pope willingly took upon himself to consider and decide. The Popes, moreover, collated to all the more important benefices, and decided all cases of contested elections. Finally, when Innocent acquired the States of the Church, the work of practical government also fell to be executed; but this very acquisition, while it marked the summit of Papal influence, marked also the commencement of its decline. A firm territorial basis might be advantageous or even necessary for the Papacy; but a Pope fighting for his temporal possessions no longer appealed to men’s sympathies as he did when, in the days of feudal oppression, he had fought for his purely spiritual dignity and importance.

The thirteenth century, from the days of Innocent the Third to those of Boniface the Eighth, has been styled the noonday of papal dominion, the century during which Rome inspired all the terror of her ancient name, during which she was once more mistress of the world and kings were her vassals. It was in many ways the most wonderful time since the birth of Christ: the world had renewed its youth; there was a renaissance of learning and intellect which has made many wonder why the Protestant Reformation did not come three hundred years earlier than it actually did. It was an epoch of great sovereigns, great statesmen, great lawyers, great men of science, great philosophers and divines, great architects, great poets and painters. It was a century marked by a decline in the spiritual efficacy, but by an increase in the temporal pretensions of the Papacy; never had any Pope set these so high as did Benedict Gaetani when he became Pope Boniface the Eighth. But the glorious promise of the thirteenth century was not fulfilled; the renaissance came to naught; no summer followed the wonderful spring; instead thereof, a winter of corruption and decay set in. Persecution, bribery (in the shape of patronage), the natural tendency of any unusual stimulation of intellectual activity to wear itself out, and above all the genius of the great orthodox Schoolmen, prevailed. It was the theological dictatorship of the cosmopolitan University of Paris which more than all else blasted the fair prospects of the twelfth-century illumination, though at the same time it saved Northern France from the ravages of the Holy Inquisition. The University of Paris aspired to a theological dictatorship, and hence ran counter to the Popes. For the Popes were not theologians; they were canon lawyers; they had all the lawyer's desire to stand on the ancient ways, they had all the lawyer’s dislike for radical reform. Clement the Fifth openly professed his contempt for the theologians of Paris. Jean Gerson, on the other hand, who tried to arrogate to the Theological Faculty the control of negotiations during the Great Schism, was never tired of reiterating that the Canon Law must give way, when occasion demanded, to the Divine Law and the welfare of Holy Church. From their education and training the influence of the Popes was averse from all radical reform of the Church and its members. The close of the thirteenth century was marked by a fearful catastrophe for the Church. The Popes had come victorious out of their strife with the Hohenstaufen; they were worsted in their strife with France. Boniface fell before Philip; he died very shortly after the sacrilegious outrage at Agnani.

An immense change was marked by the transfer of the Papacy to Avignon. It wrought woe in many ways. It wrought woe to the Papacy itself, inasmuch as it deprived the Pope of the consideration and respect which he had hitherto enjoyed as the impartial, international arbitrator, the supreme head of Christendom, the common Father of all nations. It wrought woe to both England and France, inasmuch as it rendered futile all the efforts of Benedict the Twelfth to avert the Hundred Years' War, a conflict which wasted the resources though it increased the glory of England, which brought incalculable desolation and misery on the fair realm of France. It wrought woe to Germany, inasmuch as there ensued the long strife between Louis of Bavaria and the Popes, which brought with it the revolt of the Franciscan Friars and the consequent alienation of much of the German peasantry. It wrought woe also to Italy, which lapsed into anarchy as soon as the Pope had departed from Rome,—the city fell into ruins, and cattle grazed at the foot of the altars in St. Peter's and the Vatican. It saw the rise of the Tribune Rienzi, the tragic actor in the tattered purple of antiquity; the state of the peninsula grew worse and worse, until Florence and Bologna threw off their allegiance and declared war on the Papacy, a war which was aggravated and stained by the bloody massacre of Cesena under the orders of Cardinal Robert of Geneva. Finally the Captivity rendered possible and probable the Great Schism, which went far toward completing the baleful work which the residence in the “sinful city of Avenon” had begun.

The transfer of the Papacy, moreover, initiated a period of social decadence and gloom, during which the corruption of morals everywhere made frightful progress. Through all Europe save Italy, says Renan, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were a stagnant time, during which thought existed no longer, literature was dead, art was dying, and poetry was mute. The description, though overcharged, is true in the main outlines. Corruption seized on the body ecclesiastic and spread through every part, from the head downward. Simony was openly practised, and was excused in Rome on the ground that everything belonged to the Pope, who was only dealing with his own. Spiritual offices everywhere were sold and bartered, for gold, for love, for gaming; the Pope's palace was a nest of money-changers and usurers. Men's hearts failed them for the sins which they saw in high places. Among the masses of the people superstition and ignorance prevailed; every one believed in omens and portents, in ghosts and demons, in magic, sorcery, and witchcraft. Signs and wonders were of daily occurrence. Sacred pictures exhibited signs of life; drops of sacramental wine, Christ's blood, worked marvels of healing; relics were purchased, even by hard-headed mercantile men like the Venetians, for fabulous sums, and were feared and venerated as if they were talismans; confession was equivalent to incantation; the Devil intervened actively in everyday life; the sheeted dead sighed plaintively at night along the streets when danger impended in the city. Rustics held their Feast of Fools in churches and cathedrals; in Italy food was every year set out for the dead during the four days before the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter; in England the villagers peeped in from the churchyard on Sundays to catch sight of the priest waving the Host, and ran home delighted, exclaiming that they had said their Mass, that they had seen their Lord; while those who partook of the Holy Communion saved bits of wafer to rub their sick cattle withal, or watered their cabbages with the crumbs to keep off caterpillars. Of miracles there were enough and to spare; a temporary lack was set down to want of piety, for sorry monks worked no wonders. There was everywhere gross spiritual neglect; parish priests were admonished to teach their flocks once every three months all the cardinal points of the Christian doctrine, but teaching was scanty and preaching, practically confined to the bishops, was scantier still.

The temporal possessions and political wars of the Pope had introduced, had indeed almost necessitated, the sale of offices. Money was wanted; and the Peter’s Pence contributed by the northern nations of Europe, and the tribute paid by the States of the Church and occasionally by other countries, such as England and Portugal, were utterly insufficient to provide the needful sums. The expense to which the Pope was put for an establishment was enormous. In addition to the determination of points of doctrine and discipline, to the granting of dispensations, to the confirmations and collations to benefices, to the manifold external relations with foreign courts, there came an immense mass of work to the Pope as to the spiritual court of ultimate appeal. This facility of appeal had been made matter of reproach by Hildebert of Tours and by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, but it had continued and increased; and in the time of Gregory the Twelfth cases came in for settlement at the rate of two thousand a week. The huge amount of work with which the Pope had to contend was far greater than that which came before any other chancery in Christendom. Whenever an order on any of these matters was given, a minute had to be made, a Bull or other formal order engrossed, and an office copy of it transcribed. It necessarily followed that the Pope had to maintain an enormous staff of clerks and other officials in the Curia, in addition to the officers of his own household, and this implied the need for a correspondingly large revenue.

But while the expenses of the Curia were very large, its revenue was fluctuating and precarious. Peter's Pence and tribute have already been mentioned. When a crusade was on foot, a tenth was levied on the clergy; and the same tax was imposed on other occasions resembling a war against the unbeliever; and although the proceeds were supposed to be devoted to the crusade, for the help of those warriors who could not pay their own way, it was commonly believed that a certain part of the money never got beyond the papal treasury; there were all the expenses and the inevitable peculation involved in the collecting. Then again the Pope claimed, though he was not always successful in appropriating, the revenues of all vacant benefices; and benefices might be vacated by transfer as well as by death; the revenues might, on the other hand, be annexed by the sovereign. The most considerable source of revenue after this was the first-fruits, or annates, levied on the confirmation of an appointment to a benefice, whether vacated by death or by transfer; the Pope was entitled to the first year's income from all dignities and benefices in his gift, and frequently a vacancy was accompanied by three or four transfers, each bringing in its crop of first-fruits. Letters of reversion and expectancies also produced a goodly revenue; and to these were added the tithes from the clergy and the offerings of the faithful. Pope John the Twenty-second drew up a regular tariff for collation to different benefices : three thousand gulden were charged for the Bishopric of Munster, thirty thousand for the archiepiscopal pallium of Mainz, twenty thousand for that of Trier, and the like. Absolution for a city, taking off the interdict, reconsecrating the cemetery, cost forty, fifty, or sixty gulden. Every appointment, however humble, was sold. By these means John, being a careful and thrifty man, one naturally opposed to any such doctrine as that of Apostolic Poverty, managed to amass the enormous sum of twenty-five millions of gold florins, which his successor, Benedict the Twelfth, another careful and thrifty Pope, managed to double; the entire sum was most royally squandered by Benedict’s successor, Clement the Sixth. The Popes after John the Twenty- second usually adopted the simpler plan of taking all they could get, preferring a higher bid to the lower. Archbishop William of Cologne paid Clement the Sixth seventy thousand florins; Archbishop Friedrich paid Urban the Fifth one hundred and twenty thousand florins; the Archbishopric of Mainz cost John of Nassau fifty thousand; and other German prelates paid more than twice that sum. England was esteemed a veritable gold-mine, and Englishmen had to pay accordingly. De Grey paid ten thousand pounds for the Archbishopric of York, and others the like or even larger sums; his bishopric cost Robert de Oxford fifteen thousand pounds. Every new prelate was bound to start within a month of election on his journey to Rome for collation; he frequently returned crippled for years by his debt to the Lombards or the Jews. Pope Clement the Sixth, while his favourite the Countess of Turenne dispensed places and preferments for a price, while he himself provided for his nephews and his court by imposing taxes which irritated Teutons and Italians alike, laughed, and said that none of his predecessors had known how to be Popes. At the same time, he was careful to keep in touch with the royal courts; he told his cardinal that if the King of England wanted to give a bishopric to an ass, he must be humoured; and in 1349 a donkey did make its way into the consistory with a petition round its neck that he, too, might be made a bishop. The Popes also exacted more direct patronage than formerly. In 1226 two prebends in each cathedral were demanded. In 1265 the Pope claimed to deal directly with all vacancies occurring in benefices while the holders were in Rome; and as all bishops came to Rome for collation, and many prelates of high degree came there to push their litigation, the number of death vacancies thus arising was not small. When a bishop was translated or made cardinal, the Pope dealt directly with the vacancy thus caused, for he alone could loose the tie which bound a bishop to his see. In the fourteenth century the right of direct nomination of bishops was claimed, and the system of reservation and provision was extended to the episcopate. Many Italians were thus provided with livings both in England and in France and they were usually non-residents and pluralists. At the beginning of the Great Schism, Clement the Seventh leagued himself with the Duke of Anjou to spoil the Gallican Church : he doubled the tithes; he reserved the collation of all benefices; his collectors seized the personal property and the cash left by deceased bishops and abbes; benefices were put up for sale to the highest bidder. It is no wonder that churches became deserted, that clerks were reduced to beggary, that the revenues of colleges and hospitals were plundered, that scholars were dispersed, that the University of Paris saw her children abandoning her maternal breast, which had no longer the wherewithal to nourish them. At Rome corruption reached its climax under Pope Boniface the Ninth. Simony, forbidden to others, was rampant at Rome itself; everything could be bought at the papal court for money, and without money no justice or redress was to be had; full many a devout ecclesiastic re-echoed the words of Grosseteste : “Ah! money, money, how infinite is thy power, most of all in the court of Rome!”. The Commons of England complained that no king in Christendom had one-fourth of the revenue that went from England alone to the Pope.

Bad as was the reputation of the Curia for simony, the moral repute of the Pope's court was not much better. The majority of the Popes at Avignon were indeed themselves men of pure livelihood; but the court of Clement the Sixth became renowned for its voluptuousness and sensual luxury, and the “sinful city of Avenon” became a byword in Europe. The ladies, the sisters and nieces of great prelates, held their courts of the “gaie science”; their salons were the recognized avenues of promotion. Those who wanted rich benefices in the time of Clement the Fifth laid their petitions on the white bosom of the beautiful Brunisand de Foix; in the time of Innocent the Sixth they paid their court to Enemonde de Bourbon. Great churchmen might be celibate, but many of them were not chaste, and female honour was a thing of little worth in their eyes. When Butillo, in the time of his uncle, Urban the Sixth, broke into a convent and ravished a beautiful high-born nun, the Pope excused his nephew, who was more than forty years old, by ascribing his sin to the fire of youth; and when the nephew of Gerard de Puy, Cardinal Legate at Perugia, committed the like offence against a noble lady, whereby she in her haste to avoid his brutality slipped, fell from her window, and died, the Cardinal placidly inquired of the enraged Perugians whether they thought that all the French were eunuchs!

The papal court, instead of being a model of virtue for mankind, was under too many of the Popes a hotbed of vice. The riotous licence of the younger cardinals, says Petrarch, was matched by the senile debauchery of their elders. Every one has read the story of the Jew Abraham, who visited the papal court. He began circumspectly to acquaint himself with the ways of the Pope and the cardinals and the other prelates and all the courtiers; and from what he saw for himself, being a man of great intelligence, or learned from others, he discovered that without distinction of rank they were all sunk in the most disgraceful lewdness, sinning not only in the way of nature, but after the manner of the men of Sodom, without any restraint of remorse or shame, in such sort that, when any great favour was to be procured, the influence of the courtesans and boys was of no small moment. Moreover, he found one and all gluttonous, wine-bibbers, and next after lewdness most addicted to the shameful service of the belly, like brute beasts. Saint Catherine of Siena, as will be seen later on, is as scathing in her denunciation as is Boccaccio in the Decameron.

The cardinals, says Nicolas de Clamanges, look down upon primates and patriarchs; they make themselves the equals of kings. They were judged very unfavourably, however, by the outside world; they stank in the nostrils of Christendom for their avarice and corruption. Henry of Hesse, vice-chancellor of the University of Paris, censured in scathing terms their simony, pomp, and libertinage. They were of all clerks the most noted pluralists. "Not two or three, nor ten or twenty, but one or two hundred benefices, sometimes even four or five hundred, do they accumulate" says Nicolas de Clamanges, “and these, too, not mean or small ones, but the best and fattest”. The Popes heaped on them pluralities with unstinted hand, so that in 1385 Charles the Sixth of France asserted in an ordinance that the cardinals had absorbed all the preferments in the kingdom—benefices, abbeys, orphanages, hospitals, etc.—exacting revenue to the utmost and leaving the institutions disabled and the fabric to fall into ruin. The Doctor already quoted makes the same charge against them—nothing could equal their overbearing pride and arrogance, but their private lives were a scandal : “I pass over their simoniacal interviews with the Pope, I pass over their venal patronage, I pass over the most disgraceful and damnable corruptions and promotions almost entirely due to them; I pass over the pay and rewards they received from temporal powers for abetting them in church matters wrongfully. Nor will I mention the adulteries, the lewdness, the fornications with which they now defile the Roman curia. Their usury and trading and many other more grievous sins are omitted by this dutiful son of the Church”. Pope Urban the Sixth had some grounds for his public reproach, he preached in open consistory on the text, “I am the Good Shepherd”, and descanted on the manifold failings of the lord cardinals. It is small wonder that they took it ill; the truth was a bitter pill to swallow, and in this instance this bit of bitter truth had its effect in producing the Great Schism. When they were sent abroad on affairs of State, they lived on the country to which they were deputed at the rate of a hundred golden gulden a day; and when complimentary visits were paid to them at the papal court, it was useless for the visitor to come empty-handed. William Langland spoke but the common conviction when he declared that

'The country is the curseder that cardinals come in,

And where they lie and linger most, lechery there reigneth.

Nicolas de Clamanges is no less severe in his strictures on the French bishops: “there are many of them, he says, who have never visited their dioceses, who have never seen the faces nor heard the voices nor felt the wounds of their flocks : luxury, pomp, and avarice are the three Harpies who rule their lives. The bishops delight in wine, banquet, and games; in lofty houses and wide palaces; in heaping up money; they are given up to drinking, fornication, and gambling; they spend their days in hunting, fishing, and tennis; their nights in feasting, dancing, and debauchery”. The German bishops were on their part “wolves and hirelings”, elected for the sake of their birth and breeding by worldly chapters who drove hard bargains with them their sees were liable to be taxed both by the temporal and the spiritual powers; the elections were all subject to the Pope's con­firmation, the donation of the regalia by the civil power being but an empty form.

The bishops were the connecting link between the generalissimo and the rank and file of the Church, though some of the bishoprics were of so wide an extent—that of Utrecht, for example, which covered the whole of Holland—that it was impossible for the bishop to become acquainted with the whole of his diocese or the whole of his parish clergy. Nor did they attempt the task, for, as a general rule, they were absorbed in the temporal interests of their sees. They were the spiritual landed nobility, corresponding to the dukes, earls, and counts among the lay nobles. They were almost invariably warriors and statesmen rather than mere ecclesiastics. The idea of making a man a bishop or an archdeacon on account of his zeal, his energy, his success in the humble round of parochial duty, is one which would hardly have occurred to sensible men in mediaeval times. Since land alone gave social distinction, the wide possessions of the Church were coveted by German princes and nobles as a welcome means of procuring riches and honour for the younger sons of their families. As early as 1139 Pope Innocent the Second applied the feudal system to the Church by declaring at the Lateran Council that all ecclesiastical dignities were received and held of the Popes like fiefs; and like fiefs, church dignities were too often conferred as a reward for past services without thought of the attendant duties. Bishops and abbots were, above all else, the spiritual lords and princes of the Empire; pious men might occasionally be inducted, but the possession and defence of land was the leading motive in the strife after the higher church dignities.

Under these circumstances simony, notwithstanding the efforts of Pope Gregory the Seventh and his successors, became almost universal. Certain of the kings of France were notorious as vendors of bishoprics, and where money was not paid, promotion commonly went by favour or relationship. The worthier bishops who occasionally appeared could do little to enforce respect for religion and morality ; in those days of violence the prizes were for those whose martial prowess won respect for the rights of their churches and vassals. All this was in some sort a necessity of the incongruous union of feudal noble and Christian prelate, and though more marked in Germany than elsewhere, it was to be seen everywhere. The bishops of Normandy fought under Philip the Bold : the Bishop of Beauvais was captured by Richard of the Lion Heart, and his coat of mail sent to the Pope with the inquiry : “Know now whether it be thy son’s coat or not?” The same question was asked by the Marquis of Montferrat when he captured Aymon, Bishop of Vercelli. In 1265 the troops of Manfred of Sicily captured the Bishop of Verona. Such was the worldly, turbulent character of bishops generally that pious souls believed that no bishop could enter the kingdom of heaven. The good prior of Clairvaux, on being told that he was elected Bishop of Tournay, cast himself on the ground, offering to become a vagrant monk, but a bishop never. An ecclesiastic in Paris declared that he could believe all things except that any German bishop could be saved. Nor was the moral character of certain of the French archbishops and bishops above suspicion. Gerard de Rougemont, Archbishop of Besançon, lived in incest with the Abbess of Remiremont and other holy women; the Bishop of Toul, Maheu de Lorraine, was abandoned to debauchery, his favourite concubine being his own daughter by a nun; Berenger was eventually removed from the archbishopric of Narbonne because of his scandalous life and character.

In England the archbishops and bishops were generally educated and capable men. There were, of course, exceptions. Walter Reynolds, Archbishop of Canterbury under Edward the Second, was said to be so illiterate that he could not spell his own name aright; Lewis de Beaumont, Bishop of Durham, who for days before his consecration tried to learn the Latin formula which he had to repeat, finally stuck at one long word and said, “Let it be taken as said”, and when he came to another troublesome phrase muttered, “By Saint Louis, he is an ill-mannered fellow who put in that word here”. In England also it was held somewhat of an anomaly for a bishop, such as Henry Despenser of Norwich, to be a man of war; but when Henry the Fourth sent to Innocent the Seventh the armour of the traitor Bishop Scrope, with the old request that he would know whether this was his son’s coat or not, the Pope innocently answered, “An evil beast hath devoured him”. The bishops generally were able men, and the chief charge brought against them was that they were the servants, not of God, but of the King. The employment of bishops in the civil administration of the State was no new system; it had been adopted in every country of Christendom for several hundreds of years, and its effects have been aptly described in its inception in words which are equally applicable to the close of the fourteenth century: “With power and great place came in worldliness and corruption in increasing proportion as time went on, and though as statesmen these great bishops were probably not worse councillors, and often were more intelligent ones, with a natural leaning to order and peace, than the rough dukes and counts with whom they acted, yet the meaning and consciousness of their religious office became more and more lost in their secular greatness”. Wycliffe and other reformers who held the impracticable Utopian doctrine that the clergy should practise apostolic poverty were very severe on “Caesarean clergy”; they took no heed of the needs of the kingdom. For the civil administration the king needed the services of a certain number of able, educated, and trustworthy men, and he could find many more of the class he wanted among the clergy than among the nobility. These men must be recompensed. The King lived of his own; taxes were exceptional, and were levied for special purposes. The ordinary mode of recompense was by giving a man land on which he could live; and as the grant of baronies in fee-simple was out of the question, the only resource was the gift of ecclesiastical preferments, which were at best merely estates for life. This was the attitude taken by such able kings as Philip the Fair and Edward the First. In Germany, Bishops Raban of Speier, Matthew of Worms, and Conrad of Verden served King Rupert as diplomats. “There was much to be said”, remarks the Rev. W. W. Capes, “for the King's desire to reward his ministers with ecclesiastical preferment, and to relax the rules of discipline in their behalf. Only in their order could he find the trained lawyers with the literary skill he needed for his work. His own resources were too scanty to reward them fitly”. The Chancellor and Treasurer were nearly always dignitaries of the Church. Promotion to a bishopric could easily be arranged with the Pope, and was a convenient reward for services rendered. The system was advantageous for the State, but disastrous for the Church. Many of the bishops thus became engrossed in civil pursuits; they filled important offices of State, and played a foremost part in diplomacy and politics. But their episcopal duties suffered, and the Courts Christian went by the board; these things were either left undone altogether, or were performed imperfectly by deputy; the Church was thus starved for the sake of the State. Yet there were many bishops, after the fashion of Bishop Grosseteste, who were engaged solely in their episcopal duties. Many remained at their posts and did their duty manfully during the Black Death. But their sympathies again were with the beneficed clergy rather than with the poorer parish priests, whom they were ready to suspend if they received more than six marks a year, little more than a pittance absolutely needful for a yeoman’s family, while some ministers with cure of souls received less than the pay of a common soldier. The unfeeling language used by these bishops in their pastorals rankled in men’s minds, and from this time we may note the growing sense of jarring interests and divided sympathies between the higher and the lower clergy, as in the country at large between the landowners and the peasants. Like the bishops on the Continent, the English bishops also were not ashamed to increase their incomes by the levy of a tax from priests whom they allowed to keep concubines.

In Germany the bishops were often not statesmen, much less ecclesiastics; they were warriors pure and simple, fighting to defend or to increase the lands of the Church. When the newly elected Bishop of Hildesheim inquired for the library of his predecessors, he was taken to the armoury and was shown the coats of mail and the arms hanging on the walls; these were the books, he was told, with which the rights of the diocese had been won and by which they must be maintained. Around the bishops’ churches there had gradually arisen, especially during the Kaiserless time of the Empire, wealthy states with an industrial population, devoid of landed property, but naturally desirous of political position. These burghers were the natural enemies of the bishops, and with them they were constantly at war. In Worms there was strife between the bishop and the citizens : King Wenzel declared for the latter, King Rupert for the former. In Magdeburg the burghers fell upon the houses of the canons, burned two of them, drove the clergy out of the city (1402); they were brought back next year by the Count of Schwartzburg; the old archbishop, Albert of Querfurt, known for his greed, died, and the count’s son, twenty-one years of age, was elected archbishop,—he never read a Mass for the next thirty-three years. In Brunswick there was war between the clergy and the burghers, and the Mendicant orders backed up the citizens. The Bishop of Halberstadt laid his city under an interdict, but he himself died in 1404, and long lay unburied since he was himself excommunicated for throttling a canon with his own hands. Bishop Gerhard of Hildesheim, successor to the bishop mentioned above, fought with and took prisoners the Duke of Brunswick, the Archbishop of Magdeburg, and the Bishop of Halberstadt; he spent their ransoms in providing a golden ceiling to the tower of the Church of the Virgin Mary. In Minden there were disputed elections at the end of the century; the citizens arose, turned out the clergy, and burned the chapter-house. The Bishop of Paderborn waged war against the association of knights. The Bishop of Wurzburg seized his own chapter in their copes and hoods, imprisoned them, and held them to ransom. Bishop Brunlow quarrelled with the citizens of Stralsund because they had cut down the funeral-fees, robbed them of their cattle, and hacked the hands and feet off their workmen; the burghers retaliated by binding three priests to ladders and throwing them in the fire. The moral character of some of the bishops was often sufficiently shocking. John of Liege, like young Gunther of Schwartzburg, never got himself ordained; they were both lusty, wild warriors, who did their work by deputy. Bishop Otto, appointed by the Pope to Minden in 1404, was a man whom no one would believe on his oath, a debaucher of nuns. In Augsburg clergy and laity were alike addicted to unnatural offences; the city council visited the laity with severe punishment, but the bishops delayed to do the like with the clergy, whereupon three seculars and a Dominican were caught, stripped, bound hand and foot and placed in a cage; one was hanged, and the other three starved to death. With such scenes disgracing the whole Empire at the end of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth century, it was little wonder that when any man inquired who was at the bottom of any new war or villainy, he was invariably told it was some bishop, provost, dean, or priest. The real cause of the constant strife was that Germany was then intent 011 winning back from the clergy the rights and possessions which the clergy had acquired from the laity.

The archdeacon was the delegate of the bishop in judicial work; he was a veritable Mr. Worldly Wiseman, learned in the law and cunning to profit thereby; it was his function to suck the marrow from the bones of all bodies committed to the spiritual charge of his lord the bishop. As soon as he obtained his post, he usually got a dispensation, and hurried off to Bologna to fit himself for his work. There he became acquainted with all the intricacies of the canon law, he fell in love with beauteous Italian ladies, he gambled and got into debt, he learned the arts of poisoning and the other faculties which went to make up the virtue of the average Italian churchman. When they returned from Bologna, the archdeacons began to exercise their abilities for the benefit of one at the expense of the many. In England, as in France, they hurried through their visitations, hurling excommunications right and left, claiming from every parish a fixed charge, known as the “archdeacon’s pig” or the “larder gift”. Chaucer’s Archdeacon was—

a man of heigh degree,

That boldly did execution

In punishing of fornication,

Of witchcraft, and eek of bauderye,

Of defamation, and avoutrye,

Of chirche-reves, and of testaments,

Of contracts, and of lack of sacraments,

And eek of many another manner crime

Which nedeth nat rehercen at this tyme;

Of usury, and of simony also.

But certes, lechours dide he grettest wo;

They sholde singen, if that they were hent;

And smale tytheres weren foule y-shent . . .

For small tithes and for small offering,

He made the people piteously to singe.

For er the bishop caught hem with his hook,

They were in the erchedeknes hook.

Thanne hadde he, thurgh his Jurisdiccioun,

Power to doom on them correction.'

It is little wonder that pious souls, accused of giving too small tithes or offerings, should have puzzled themselves, from the time of John of Salisbury onwards, as to whether it were possible that an archdeacon could be saved.

Like the archdeacons, their subordinates, the rural deans, the archiprêtres of France, were accused of avarice and rapacity; the Bishop of Exeter complained, moreover, that they gave their official seals to substitutes, “men of low character, who falsified official registers and by their fraudulent acts brought the office into disrepute”.

Discipline within the Church was hard to maintain, not only because of the frequent spirit of insubordination, but also because of the right of freedom of control which was too often purchased from Rome for a price. Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter, drew up armed retainers in front of his cathedral to prevent the visitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury; Antony de Bek, Bishop of Durham, threw into prison the notaries and clerks who served on him the citation of the Archbishop of York; a rector of Bromley sent a chaplain in full canonicals to excommunicate his own bishop for passing sentence of deprivation against him. Cathedral chapters quarrelled with their bishops, pleading ancient precedent, raising technical points of law, and appealing to King or to Pope to protect their vested rights. There was something to be said for Wycliffe’s contention that wealth had introduced vice into the Church, that the clergy should follow their master, Christ, who for our sakes became poor, that “it belongeth not to Christ's vicar nor to priests of Holy Church to have rents here on earth”.

Among the parish priests it is necessary to distinguish the beneficed from the unbeneficed clergy. The rectors were commonly men of good birth, enjoying the greater and the lesser tithes, and possessing comfortable houses. The parsonages usually had guest-chambers, for it was the recognized duty of the beneficed clergy to be “given to hospitality”, and to entertain not only their own ecclesiastical superiors, who were often more dreaded than welcome, but strangers of every degree. The rector had a pewter platter and a horn drinking-cup placed for any chance guest, and gave him a bed of clean straw or perchance a flock mattress for the night. When in 1240 the Papal Legate assembled the rectors of the churches in Berkshire, one of the arguments of the rectors for refusing to contribute as the Legate desired was that their churches had been endowed and enriched with lands and revenues for the especial purpose that the rectors of them should receive guests rich as well as poor, and show hospitality to laity as well as clergy, according to their means, as the custom of the place required.

Rectors, however, were comparatively few in the land, and vicars were many. Many churches were appropriated to cathedrals, very many more to monasteries. The monks had acquired a large number of advowsons; they scamped their duties, getting as much and doing as little as possible. The Benedictines had formerly been model landlords and had restored agriculture; the Cistercians had maintained model farms and were successful sheep-breeders, but the Black Death had brought them into difficulty; they had been obliged to let their farms on stock and land leases, and being in straits they paid their vicars as low as possible. “The monks”, said Thomas Gascoigne, “do nothing for the poor parishioners whose tithes they get, though they say they pray for them, and provide an ill-paid vicar. Not content with the tithes, they try to get the fees and offerings in the churches, refuse even to allow parish churches to have fonts, that they may force parents to bring their children to be baptized within the abbey walls”. Wycliffe also was very severe on the worldly-rich bishops and abbots to whom parish churches were appropriated, and not less severe on the monks and Austin Canons who neglected their spiritual duties. ' They do not the office of curates neither in teaching nor preaching, nor giving of sacraments, nor receiving of poor men in the parish, but set an idiot for vicar or parish priest that cannot do the office of a good curate, and yet the poor parish maintains him. Nicolas de Clamanges complains that the Popes appointed parish priests who were not taken from the schools or universities, but from the plough or from the vilest callings, priests who knew no more Latin than they did Arabic, who could not tell one letter of the alphabet from another, who spent their time in indecency, debauch, gambling, and quarrels. His tutor, Pierre d'Ailly, in one of his earliest sermons, complains of the priests for the anxious thought they bestowed on their dress, on their boots, on their hair, on their rings; very many, he says, are stained with indecency from head to foot; they are gluttonous in their meals, drunken in their drink, luxurious in their unchastity, wantonly following their lusts, fond of disreputable society, frequenting taverns and keeping concubines; they hurry from the bed of fornication to the holy altar, and receive the body of Christ with those lips which have just been kissing a harlot.

Saint Catharine of Siena gives a picture of the Italian priests and prelates, whose lives are founded in self-love, and “who perform the office of devils. Avarice, lust, and pride are the masters that they serve. The table of the Cross is deserted for the sake of the tavern; the poor are left destitute, while the substance of the Church is squandered on harlots. Nay, more, the leprosy of unnatural vice, the sin from which even the devils flee in horror because of their angelical nature, has contaminated their minds and bodies”.

The priests celebrate Mass after a night of sin, and often their mistresses and children join the congregation; others use the Blessed Sacrament of the altar to make love-charms to seduce the little sheep of their flock, or persuade them to commit fornication under pretext of delivering them from diabolical possession. Jean Gerson is very fervent against the unnatural vices of the clergy, as also against those priests who threatened, if their concubines were taken from them, to fall on the wives and daughters of their parishioners. So scandalous were their lives that in some parts of France a priest was held viler than a Jew. Marsiglio of Padua complained of the parish priests as unlearned and ignorant of grammar : they were generally men of humble birth, poor, and uneducated; but the majority probably knew some Latin, for they could not have done their work otherwise. They were usually underpaid, and in Germany some abandoned their flocks and took to beggary as more lucrative. It is small wonder that the parish priest, considering his wretched lot, too often filled up his time with dice and drinking. The cure of souls was commonly regarded as a mere source of income, and the temptation was strong to desert the dull parish, with its houses far asunder, and to resort to some large town, there to sing private masses or to act as chantry priests. This tendency was increased by the distress consequent on the Black Death.

In our own country it is clear that the parish priests were both good and bad. Some were of holy thought and work, like Chaucer’s poor parson, whose business it was “to drawen folk to heven by fairnesse by good ensample”.

He wayted after no pompe and reverence,

Ne maked him a spyced conscience,

But Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve,

He taughte, and first he folwed it himselve.'

On the other hand, there were many others who failed to give example by their own cleanness how their sheep should live; who left their flock encumbered in the mire, while they “ran to London, unto seynt Poules”, to look for one of the thirty-five chantries there established. There were full many priests like Sloth in the Vision, who knew not his Paternoster nor the history of Our Lord and Our Lady, but who knew the rhymes of Robin Hood and of Randolf, Earl of Chester; who made forty vows today and forgot them all on the morrow, who were never right sorry for their sins, but spent each day at the ale, full seldom thinking of “Goddes peyne and his passioun”. This parson boasts of his dishonesty, his drunkenness, his ingratitude, his lechery.

The parochial system in England on its religious side was clearly in a parlous state. To us nowadays it is no less clear that the whole secular side of the Church called for urgent reform. Today we attack systems, but are chary of attacking individuals; five hundred years ago the reverse was the case. Men were never tired of exposing the vices, the sensuality, the utter unworthiness of the clergy, but they dared not attack the priesthood nor the papal system; there was but one Church, and the only hope of salvation lay through its portals.

The monasteries also by the end of the fourteenth century had fallen on evil times; they had outgrown their original sphere of utility and had lost much of their original good repute. Intended as a home of refuge from the murder, rapine, and bloody war around, for those peaceful souls who were content in choir, chapter, and cloister to observe the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, to live by the rule of the order, to seek after righteousness and godliness, their very success had been their bane. They had flourished, and had manifestly come near attaining the ends for which they were started; whereupon kings had endowed them, nobles had made over to them lands and churches, death-bed donations and legacies had enriched them until they became possessed of one-third or one-half of the vicarages in the kingdom. The vow of poverty was lost sight of; that of obedience followed suit. The monasteries everywhere got themselves for a price emancipated from episcopal control and put immediately under the aegis of the Pope; before this time Bishop Grosseteste had much trouble with the Gilbertines and the Austin Canons, the Cistercians having already escaped from his jurisdiction.1 The vow of chastity might be observed, although Saint Catharine complained that prelates connived at infamous monks corrupting the nuns in the monasteries under their charge. Even at the beginning of the fifteenth century the monasteries were generally of good moral repute; but they had become social homes, and the best monks were “good clubbable men”. They had naturally fallen in popular esteem, and the tide of popular benevolence no longer flowed as formerly; the time when they were noted for their learning and influence, the days of Lanfranc and Anselm, had long since passed; no new endowments came in, and gifts of money became scantier and scantier. Some of the convents had overbuilt themselves, others had over­bought; some had indulged too freely in litigation, others complained that their hospitality cost them too dear. The fact was that the monks themselves had fallen from their former high estate; the Carthusians, with their strict rule, still maintained model monasteries, and the Austin Canons came next to them ; but the conventual life generally had become more earthly and self-centred. The monks said openly that the old Benedictine rule was no longer possible of observance; the Cluniac revival had degenerated into laxity and outward splendour; the Cistercians, formerly the “sour Puritans of the cloister”, had long ago become high-minded and purse-proud. In Germany the Benedictine abbeys, ever the most popular, were largely used as resting-places and harbours of refuge for those unfit for the war of life. Merchants sent their paralytic or maimed children, the idiots and the half-wits, the idle and the thriftless, those for any reason unfit for marriage, to the convent, and supported them while there; nobles in similar fashion got rid of those members of their households who were weak in body or in mind. Indeed so thoroughly was the good old rule, of making due provision for the fool of the family, observed, that some of the convents became little better than lunatic asylums, and there remained in them no one capable of continuing the history of the abbey. The Cistercians and the Austin Canons in Germany were, however, in better case. In England married men, wearied of matrimony, occasionally left their wives and betook themselves to monasteries to end their days in peace. The monks still taught in their schools, but their own younger members only; they still maintained their hospitals, but they received no sick folk from outside; they copied and illuminated manuscripts, but their interest in history was dying out. Their lands were leased to tenant farmers, and they no longer tried new methods of agriculture or imported fresh products; “their hospitality was being shifted on the shoulders of the neighbouring inns; their almsgiving took the most wasteful and unwise forms of indiscriminate doles”. The monks lived a thoroughly selfish life, removed from the haunts of men; they loved their ease and preferred their own comfort even to the good name and fame of their abbey. When the first Prior of Grammont died and his body began to work miracles, his successor, who could not abide the crowds of unmannerly louts attracted round the quiet convent walls, threatened to dig him up and throw his bones in the river, if he did not cease his idle miracles; the threat worked, the miracles ceased, the monks lived in quiet peace again. The monks in France were worse than those in Germany. Henry of Hesse alleges that they were debauched, and that their monasteries were no better than inns and brothels. Nicolas de Clamanges states that so far from being examples to the secular clergy they were in every way more worldly, more abandoned, more immoral; that there was nothing they hated so much as their cloister and the rule of their Order. In England the abbot loved hunting and kept hounds, he loved hawking and kept falcons; the monks loved good cheer and good wine. The monk among the Canterbury pilgrims, to been an abbot able, was “full fat and in good point”; he loved venery—

Grehoundes he hadde, as swifte as fowel in flight;

Of priking and of hunting for the hare

Was al his lust, for no coste wolde he spare.

The nunneries in Germany, although they shared many of the faults of the monasteries, were generally superior to them both in morality and intelligence. No attempt, however, was made to keep up the vow of poverty; in most cloisters a noble’s or a citizen’s daughter was only admitted on payment of a fixed sum; in others she brought her kitchen and table with her; in others no vows were taken. There were, however, many exceptions. The frivolity of the nuns of Cologne shocked a French observer. The nunneries in some parts had an evil reputation: their inmates wore costly clothes, took part in all merriments, danced round dances in the streets and at the drinking-houses : their doors stood open, day and night, to clerk and layman alike. The nuns of Bologna were notoriously light of love; they condescended to rag-pickers and carders. Saint Brigitta complained that the nunneries were rather brothels than holy retreats.

But the chief offenders were the friars of the Four Orders; Gerhard Groot and Wycliffe alike condemned them : they had been beautiful in their inception, they were baneful in their decay. They afforded a marked example of the rule, which has so often been exemplified in the history of the Church, that “it is the reforming organizations which have lost their meaning that become the chief abuses in the world's history”. Two hundred years had not elapsed since Dominic first sent forth his preachers to teach the truth, since Francis sent forth his disciples with messages of love to the poor and outcast, the sick and leprous. They had dwelt among the poorest and meanest in the towns, in a “dense slough of stagnant misery, squalor, famine, loathsome disease, and dull despair such as the worst slums of London, Paris, or Liverpool know nothing of”; or outside the city walls in pestilential marshes where the refugees from the country pitched their huts. They had lived with the lowliest; they had won the hearts of all. But as their influence increased, so did their prosperity. Peckham and Bradwardine, Archbishops of Canterbury, were Franciscan and Dominican; the Franciscans, nourished by Grosseteste, won over Simon de Montfort to become an English patriot. The celebrated Doctor Albert the Great was a Dominican; Alexander of Hales was a Franciscan; Saint Thomas Aquinas, the greatest glory of the schoolmen, was a Dominican. But the friars of the latter part of the fourteenth century were not as those of the thirteenth. In the early part of the century indeed they maintained their hold over all classes. The marked contrast which their renunciation and shabby dress exhibited to the worldliness, the gambling, the hunting of the secular clergy, the greater influence over the lives of the citizens which the friaries amid their busy haunts of men exercised as compared with the secluded convents of the Benedictines and Cistercians, above all, their gospel of the holiness of poverty, endeared them to the lower ranks of society. At the General Congregation of the Franciscans in Paris in 1329, whenever a bare­footed friar arose to preach the doctrine of Apostolic Poverty, the common people heard him gladly. During the terrible time of the Black Death in England, in Languedoc and elsewhere, the friars stuck to their work manfully, and thousands of them died at their posts. They were the spiritual guides of the Flemish artisans at Courtrai and Roosebeke, as they were of the English peasantry who rose in the insurrection of 1381. But the majority of the friars gradually abandoned their early ideals, they sank to a lower level of life and morality. In Bohemia, where education was more widely diffused than in most other countries, the popular feeling against the Mendicants was probably more bitter than elsewhere. The Dominicans fell into disrepute with the orthodox because they denied the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, the Franciscans because they set themselves up against the Pope and ordinary Christians as the champions of Apostolic Poverty. The Spiritual Franciscans throughout, and the Observants from 1373, held to the stricter vow of poverty and to the poorer and more squalid form of dress; but the great bulk of the Franciscan Friars made no difficulty in accepting property ; while in dress, if their circumstances allowed, they made no shame to assume a garb “full and double and resplendent and of the finest stuff, and of a fashion goodly and pontifical”. The lewd fellows of the baser sort among them were always ready to brawl and quarrel, drawing their knives with fatal results; fourteen were thus killed in a brawl at Assisi itself.

With the secular clergy the regulars were everywhere in hopeless conflict; if the monks had tried to shift too much work to the shoulders of the seculars, the friars tried to take too much from them; they encroached on their preserves, and filched from them the offerings of the faithful. They had obtained the right to carry about portable altars for the celebration of the Mass, the right also to preach in parish churches and to hear confessions. Their sermons often contained little but spicy jests and humorous anecdotes; and their confessionals were the resort, as Wycliffe complained, of every accursed perjurer, extortioner, and adulterer who was afraid to go to his own curate to be shriven. The temptation to a wealthy man was great to forsake his own parish priest, who knew too much of his livelihood, and to go to a wanton, merry friar who would certainly have given him absolution for a consideration; for the friar

'Ful swetely herde confessioun,

And plesaunt was his absolucioun;

He was an esy man to yeve penaunce

Ther as he wiste to han a good pitaunce.

The friars owned no superior but the Pope, with whom their Minister-General resided in close connection ; they were the most powerful agents of the Papacy, its deftest, ubiquitous agents. On their behalf it must be remembered that they did not live in seclusion like the monks; they dwelt amid the hum and stress of men, within the towns and cities, or close outside the walls, open to the censure of the municipal fathers, exposed to the prying gaze of a thousand curious eyes; their vices, as their virtues, were seen and known of all men. As they fell off from their primitive simplicity and became engrossed in piling up money for the Pope and their order, as the truth which they preached became gradually mere dead words uttered by rote, so did their influence turn to evil and increase until it became overpowering. The Franciscans had always been the newsmongers in the village, and welcome in every tavern; they soon began to haunt the inns and to leave the poor unheeded; they

Knew the tavernes wel in every toun,

And everich hostiler and tappestere

Bet than a lazar or a beggestere.

By the close of the fourteenth century they had become contemned and hated by all classes in all countries alike. In Italy they were despised as cheats, thieves, fornicators, and workers of sham miracles; everywhere they emptied the parish churches and corrupted the holy Catholic religion. They played on the follies and weaknesses of the rustic and the ignorant; their sale of spurious relics fostered superstition, and the easy terms on which they granted absolution encouraged crime. As a song-writer said—

All wickedness that men can tell

Reigneth them among ;

There shall no soul have room in hell,

Of friars there is such throng.'

They had originally been the evangelists of truth and good­will; they had sunk to be propagandists of superstition and crime.


(3) Heresy and Reform


Already in the twelfth century, although there was much blind faith and superstition on the Continent, there was much heresy, which was fostered, if it was not created, by the vices of the clergy. It appeared not in the schools and among the learned, but among men and women of humble origin and of plain living and thinking. In almost every case it was anti-sacerdotal; the leading arguments of the heretics were drawn from the pride, the avarice, the unclean lives of their spiritual masters; they held the old Donatist tenet that the sacraments are polluted in polluted hands; they refused to accept the decision of Pope Gregory the Ninth distinguishing between the offices of the priest in mortal sin as regards himself and as regards others. This article of their creed had a long and stubborn life, for it was common to the followers of Peter Waldo, of John Wycliffe, and of John Hus. There were scores of heretical sects in Italy. In the north of Germany false Christs and false prophets appeared; the Publicani or Paulicians were sent over thence by King Henry the Second to Oxford for examination. In Brittany arose Eon of the Star, “he who should come to judge the quick and the dead”, who was worshipped by his followers as the Deity incarnate; he, however, was probably mad. Pierre de Bruys preached in Vallonise and in Gascony; Henry, the Monk of Lausanne, at Le Mans; the influence of the Italian, Gundulf, extended to Arras. Arnold of Brescia, like Wycliffe after him, preached the doctrine of apostolic poverty; the clergy should have no possessions, the Church should have no civil jurisdiction, but should confine itself strictly to its spiritual functions.

The Albigenses, known in Italy as the Patarines and elsewhere as the Cathari, can hardly be called a Christian sect; they were the descendants of the Paulicians, and were of Manichaean tendency. Paul of Samosata had lived in the seventh century; his followers had been established in Armenia, Pontus, and Cappadocia. They had resisted the persecution of Leo the Armenian and the “sanguinary devotion of Theodora”; in the middle of the ninth century they had been transferred “from the banks of the Euphrates to Constantinople and Thrace”, where they were allowed to live in peace and to serve in the armies of the Eastern Empire. In the beginning of the thirteenth century their Pope or Primate resided on the confines of Bulgaria, Croatia, and Dalmatia, and governed by his vicars the filial congregations of Italy and France. They believed in the New Testament, but disbelieved the Old; Jehovah was Satan, and the prophets and patriarchs were robbers. The spiritual world and the mind of man were made by God, but Satan made the temporal world and matter. The Albigenses therefore refused to eat flesh; they rejected the doctrine of the Mass; they held that baptism profited nothing; and they disbelieved utterly in carnal marriage. As regards the Saviour of mankind, many of them reverted to the old heresy of the Docetes, that Christ, the imperfections of matter being incompatible with the purity of a celestial substance, had never issued from the Virgin’s womb; that “He had imposed on the senses of His enemies and of His disciples”; and that the ministers of Pilate had wasted their impotent rage on an airy phantom, who seemed to expire on the Cross and after three days to arise from the dead.

Catharism discarded all the machinery of the Catholic Church, replacing it by a simple daily benediction of the bread and wine, by a monthly ceremony of confession, and by the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, which reunited the soul to God, absolved it from sin, and distinguished the “perfected” from the ordinary Christian. This ceremony consisted merely in the imposition of hands, and, except in the case of those who proposed to become ministers of the faith, it was usually postponed until death drew very nigh. The sick man then generally remained without food for three days, and this “privation” was usually equivalent to suicide. Through Provence and Lombardy these latter-day Manichaeans abounded. It may seem strange that so sad a creed should have won so many converts, should have induced so many to lead lives of truth and purity; but the Cathari had rejected Catholicism because its precepts and practice were to them irreconcilably at variance, while their own simple dualistic creed fitted in with and explained the facts of their own dull, hard lives. Not happiness, but truth, they held, should make them free.

There were other heretics whose chief desire and aim it was to remain faithful to the spirit of Christ and to revert to the simplicity of the primitive Church. Chief among these were the Waldenses, the followers of Peter Waldo, who were known as the Poor Men of Lyons. Originally of no heretical tendency, they were enamoured of the beauty of poverty and of the simplicity of the Gospel. They translated several books of the Old and New Testaments; they produced in the Gallo-Roman language a text and a gloss on the Psalter. Armed with these, two of the Waldenses presented themselves in the Lateran Council before Pope Alexander the Third. He, less wise than Innocent the Third after him, while he approved of their poverty, refused them permission to preach without the consent of their clergy, and condemned their interference with the sacred functions of the priesthood. They were thus driven into hostility and opposition to the Church. They had formed the conviction that it was the sanctity of a man’s life, and not his spiritual office, which gave validity to his administration of holy rites; a virtuous layman, or even a virtuous woman, could officiate, while the offering of a vicious priest was of no avail. Transubstantiation, they held, takes place only in the soul of the believer. They rejected prayers for the dead, purgatory, and indulgences. No fairer testimony to their moral worth could be given than that of an inquisitor who knew them well. “Heretics”, he says, “are recognizable by their customs and speech, for they are modest and well regulated. They take no pride in their garments, which are neither costly nor vile. They do not engage in trade, to avoid lies and oaths and frauds, but live by their labour as mechanics—their teachers are cobblers. They do not accumulate wealth, but are content with necessaries. They are chaste and temperate in meat and drink. They do not frequent taverns or dances or other vanities. They restrain themselves from anger. They are always at work ; they teach and learn, and conse­quently pray but little. They are to be known by their modesty and precision of speech, avoiding scurrility and detraction and light words and lies and oaths”. The modesty, frugality, honest industry, chastity, and temperance of the Poor Men of Lyons were universally acknowledged.

It is very probable that some account of the teaching of the Waldenses may have been transmitted to Saint Francis of Assisi by his father, who was a travelling merchant of considerable wealth and intelligence. The “little brother” Francis was perhaps the most saintly man who had trod this earth since the death of his Elder Brother on the Cross. He believed in absolute poverty and the love of Christ, and through the whole of his short life—for he died in 1226— he carried his belief in the holiness of poverty to its logical conclusion. He preached the love of God; he did not argue; he detested polemics; his life was his gospel. The truth, says M. Sabatier, needs no proof; it forces itself on you. So it was with Saint Francis; his life and example converted men from the error of their ways. For a time it seemed as if heresy would disappear. But his gospel in its purity did not retain the undisputed field long. When the Little Brother presented his rule to Innocent the Third, the Pope warned him that it would be too hard for those who should come after him. The warning proved true. Scarcely was the Saint dead than his followers divided into two sects— the Spiritual Franciscans, who desired to adhere to the letter of the rule as to utter poverty; and the Conventuals, who saw how much could be done with property rightly administered. For more than a century the strife between these sects continued. One general of the Order was a Spiritual, the next was a Conventual; the Popes now favoured one sect, now the other. Nicholas the Third promulgated a Bull, Exiit qui seminat, laying down that property should be vested in the Roman Church, the usufruct remaining with the friars. About the middle of the thirteenth century the Spiritual Franciscans adopted the mystical teachings of the Calabrian prophet, Joachim of Flora. His three treatises were styled The Everlasting Gospel, and to them the Franciscan, Gerard of Borgo San Donnino, published an Introduction. Joachim’s speculative prophecies had been mystical and vague; those of Gerard were clear and precise. The reign of the Father was over; the reign of the Son was closing; the reign of the Holy Ghost was to begin in the year 1260. The Roman Church, which was further from the truth than were the Greeks, the Jews, or the Mussulmen, would be swept away in favour of an order of monks. This was rank heresy. Persecution, spasmodic and intermittent, followed; John of Parma was disgraced, Gerard was imprisoned underground. But the sect, with its mystical teachings, taken often from works falsely attributed to Joachim of Flora, held its ground throughout the fourteenth century up to the days of the Calabrian hermit, Telesphoro of Cosenza, and of Thomas of Apulia, and even later. The tertiary order of the Franciscans continued to be the breeding-ground for all manner of strange heresies, which lived their little day and died. Wilhelmina of Bohemia appeared at Milan; she was held to be an incarnation of the Holy Ghost; her followers believed that she would reappear on earth at the year of Jubilee, 1300. She died in the odour of sanctity, but twenty years later her bones were dug up and burned. In 1260, the year of the new dispensation, was born Segarelli, who founded the sect of the Apostolic Brethren, and who strove to surpass Saint Francis himself in his imitation of Christ. He got himself circumcised, was wrapped in swaddling-clothes, was rocked in a cradle and suckled by a woman. When he had perished at the stake, his work was taken up by Fra Dolcino of Novara, who published his three epistles, and who declared the Papacy to be the Scarlet Woman of the Revelation. He had a spiritual sister, the beautiful Margarita of Tirol, with whom he claimed to live in unblemished chastity. Clement the Fifth issued a Bull against them; Dolcino and his followers took to the mountains; four crusades in four successive years were sent against them in Mount Saint Bernard and the neighbouring Alps. At length, on Holy Thursday of Passion Week, 1307, Fra Dolcino was cap­tured and was put to death with the most atrocious tortures. But the sect of longest life which sprang from the Franciscans was that of the Fraticelli, who wore the small hoods and the short narrow gowns of the Spiritual Franciscans, and who, like them, preached the doctrine of utter poverty. Pope John the Twenty-second did his utmost to suppress them, for, although his was the golden age of missions in the East, the doctrine of the poverty of Christ and His apostles was hateful in his nostrils. He contradicted the decisions of his predecessors, and promulgated a Bull in which he proved that the Franciscan doctrine of poverty was a perversion of Scripture, and in which it was denounced as heretical. The Franciscan friars, headed by their general Michael de Cesena, rose against him and ranged themselves under the banner of his enemy, the Emperor Louis of Bavaria. The narrow Franciscan dogma thus became of imperial importance. John’s successor, Benedict the Twelfth, and Clement the Sixth after him, were unable to suppress these Brethren of the Poor Life, as they called themselves; they swarmed through Italy. Cola di Rienzo, when he fled from Rome, took shelter with the Fraticelli of Monte Maiella; Luigi di Durazzo, when he rebelled, proclaimed his sympathy with them; the Archbishop of Seleucia in 1346 belonged to their order; so too did the Bishop of Trivento in 1362. The Fraticelli continued to be numerous in Italy during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Meantime the merciless crusade of De Montfort, the preaching of Saint Dominic and his followers, and the pitiless persecution of the Inquisition during the thirteenth century, practically annihilated the sect of the Albigenses in Southern France. The country was impoverished, its industry was shattered and its commerce ruined; the estates of the nobles and the goods of the wealthy were wrung from them; but, with the exception of a few poverty-stricken Waldenses, heresy was stamped out of France. The subtleties of Abelard and the schoolmen were refuted by the erudition and arguments of that noble Dominican, Thomas Aquinas ; and thus it came about that, as Sismondi says, whether there were an honest man or not, there was certainly at the end of the fourteenth century not a heretic in the whole realm of France.

In the Spanish peninsula also there was very little heresy. A few Cathari escaped from Languedoc and penetrated as far as Leon; a few Fraticelli and Waldenses troubled the universal orthodoxy. The Inquisition was established in Aragon, and worked in the early part of the thirteenth and again in the opening years of the fourteenth century, but was never really effective; and when, in 1401, Vincente de Lisboa was appointed Inquisitor over all Spain, the only heresy specifically mentioned in the Bull is the idolatrous worship of plants, trees, stones, and altars—a mere super­stitious relic of paganism.

In Italy, however, Lombardy, with Milan as its centre, continued throughout to be the home of heresy. Not only did the heretical sects of the Franciscans flourish there, but other heretics also. The Waldenses retreated to the Cottian Alps. The Cathari, when they fled from persecution in Languedoc, were able to find a shelter in any large town of Northern Italy. Ezzelino da Romano would permit n persecution for heresy in his dominions, nor would his conqueror, Uberto Pallavicino, after him. Heresy spread to Central Italy, but political faction and party spirit were everywhere dominant; and when Saint Peter Martyr won two bloody battles in Florence for the Church in 1245, the victories were as much those of Guelfs over Ghibelines as of orthodoxy over heresy. After the victory of Charles of Anjou at Benevento in 1268, and the consequent revival of the papal power through Italy, the inquisitors were able to set to work with more gusto, and by the end of the century heretics were no longer able to live securely in Lombardy or in Central Italy. But the Inquisition was ineffective in Naples; it was merely nominal in Sicily ; it never gained a hold in Venetian territory. In Italy as in France, says Mr. Lea, the history of the Inquisition during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries is one of decadence. It had in fact for the time done its work. The pessimistic doctrines of Catharism gradually became extinct, although the simple and hopeful creed of the Waldenses continued to flourish amid the mountain fastnesses of Piedmont.

There was never a heretic in England before John Wycliffe, and it is not necessary to speak of him at length here, for his writings before the Great Schism had mainly a political character and tendency, and were thus utilized by John of Gaunt. Other political philosophers had based their theories on “the Bible of the Christians or the Bible of the philosophers, the Scriptures of Aristotle”. Wycliffe based his on the feudal system. His treatises Of the Lordship of God and Of Civil Lordship were published by 1372. Lordship and service linked man to God; God was the universal lord paramount of every man; and every individual man was dependent on God alone, and was bound to do Him faithful service. Lordship is founded in grace; “no one in mortal sin has any right to any gift of God, while on the other hand, every man standing in grace has not only a right to, but has in fact, all the gifts of God; ... the righteous has all things ; the wicked has nothing, only occupies for the time that which he has unrighteously usurped or stolen from the righteous”. If the righteous man has not all things in this present life, if the wicked man has that which he should not, their recompense will come after death. Wycliffe’s doctrine of Apostolic Poverty was the result of his veneration for the spiritual dignity of the Church, which led him to sever its sphere of action entirely from that of the world. At this period of his life he might indeed, like many another true son of the Church, expose “the political abuses of the hierarchy, but in his dogmatic theology he was without blemish”. He had not broken loose from the Papacy when King Edward the Third died; it was the Great Schism which made him a notorious heretic. Except by reason of their political influence, his followers in England indeed were but a feeble folk; the dawn of Reformation here was but a false dawn. Wycliffe’s great work in the religious world was wrought through John Hus of Bohemia; and it is somewhat curious that, just as there had been no heresy in England before the time of John Wycliffe, so John Hus boasted that there had never been a heretic in Bohemia.

If England, France, and Spain at the outbreak of the Great Schism were free from heresy, very different was the state of religious life in Germany, where speculation always simmered, where the prelates resented papal interference, where they and also the whole of the secular clergy hated the Mendicant Orders, and resented anything like the introduc­tion of the Inquisition. All through the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries pantheistic teachers arose, for Northern Germany had no sympathy with the Catharism which took its rise in the Slavic countries, in Servia and Bosnia. The troublous times led to the predominance of sentiment over intellect. Among the people associations were formed, providing quiet retreats in which inmates, male or female, might live secluded from the world, bound only by the vows of chastity and obedience, enjoying the blessedness of inward peace. David of Dinant, Amalric of Bena, and Eckard of Cologne promulgated a pantheism which became more and more removed from Deism and from the historical foundation of Christianity. Hence arose the Brotherhoods and Sisterhoods of the Free Spirit. They held that God is everywhere, that everything emanates from Him and returns to Him; that all souls return to Him at death, and that there is neither purgatory nor hell; that sacerdotal observances and the sacraments are useless; since the divine and human spirits are in nature identical, every act of a godly man is good; perfection consists in absolute unity with God, and thenceforth all outward actions are indifferent, for “that which God wills in man is that which man has the strongest inclination to do, and to which he inwardly feels himself most forcibly impelled, and hence man requires only to follow the voice within to execute the divine will”. The Brethren of the Free Spirit claimed that being led by the Spirit they were no longer under the Law, they were free from its trammels; they alleged that no man was perfect in whom the sight of a naked man produced shame, or the sight of a naked woman produced passion. Every kind of indulgence and excess was permissible to the godly and pure in heart—a doctrine most attractive to the ungodly and the impure; and there is little wonder that the carnal indulgence and licence of many of the sectaries shocked the ordinary lay mind. One curious sect of pantheists, the Luciferans, maintained that inasmuch as God was the essence of all things, therefore Satan himself must be divine, and the devil and his angels must ultimately be reunited with the Deity. Fearful stories were told as to their hideous rites and initiatory ceremonies. The Church was not idle. There was a most cruel persecution of the Beguines at the beginning of the fourteenth century : Archbishop Henry was very severe 011 the Beghards of Cologne. On one occasion a jealous husband tracked his wife to an earthly paradise, witnessed the sensual orgies which were customary there, and gave information; many of the leaders were either burned or drowned in the Rhine. This was about 1325; but through the whole of this century these Antinomians, Beguines, Beghards, and Lollards were in opposition to the Church, and the Church was engaged in an exterminating war against them.

The strife between Pope John the Twenty-second and Louis of Bavaria was naturally favourable to the growth of heresy; and no sooner had his successor, Charles the Fourth, “the priests emperor”, been recognized, than there appeared that most fearful scourge of suffering humanity, the plague known as the Black Death. Although it was not so virulent in Germany as in many parts, still one-fourth of the population died; and then in the midst of the universal misery arose the sect of the Flagellants. They are said to have first appeared in Perugia in 1260. It was, as it were, an extraordinary effort of propitiation to avert the destroying wrath of God; it responded so thoroughly to the vague longings of the people, and it spread so rapidly, that it seemed to be the result of a universal consentaneous impulse. They held that except by the shedding of their own blood there was no remission of sin. Their leader displayed a mysterious letter which had fallen from heaven and had been found in the church of Saint Peter at Jerusalem; in this Jesus Christ had promised to be very gracious to all penitents in their processions, because the blood of the Flagellants was mingled with His own. Vast herds of them congregated together— men, women, and children—with veiled faces, but the men bare to the waists; they marched in bands of moderate size, each under a leader and two lieutenants; they sang penitential songs as they entered the towns, weeping, groaning, and lamenting; they required everyone who joined them to remain with them for thirty-three days, one day for every year of our Lord’s life on earth; they scourged one another lustily with scourges knotted with four iron points until the blood ran down their backs. From Poland to the Rhine they spread, but they flourished mostly in Thuringia, where Conrad Schmidt was their prophet Elias, and one of his companions their prophet Enoch. They professed that the blood with which they bathed themselves washed away their sins and avoided all necessity for the mediation of Holy Church ; they held that Pope and clergy had no power to loose or to bind; that churches were mere houses of stone and dens of robbers; that the Mass was a howling of dogs, and the sacrament a vain babble of the priest; that vows, Purgatory, the adoration of the Cross and of saints were outworn, useless creeds. Clement the Sixth would have none of them, and his severe measures repressed them for a time.

Charles the Fourth did little to aid the Church in its war against heresy until his expedition into Italy in 1368, when, however, he issued two edicts of unparalleled severity, intended for the support of Walter Kerlinger, the papal inquisitor. The Waldenses swarmed all over Germany; in Thuringia, Misnia, Bohemia, Moravia, Austria, and in Hungary they appeared in their thousands. They were poor folk, viewed with no ill-will even by the local priesthood; they conformed outwardly in every way to the orthodox observances. A sect closely akin to them were the Winkelers. Another sect which sprang up in the lower Rhineland was that of the Dancers : they also were poor and simple. They danced and sang until they fell to the ground in convulsions; they were generally regarded as possessed by the devil; they had not been properly baptized, folk said, seeing that so many of the priests kept concubines. The sect spread over a large part of Germany and lasted for some years. But the Inquisition directed its labours more especially to the Brethren of the Free Spirit, to the Beghards and Beguines, where there was spoil to be gathered. The Beghards begged their bread to a monotonous cry of Brod durch Gott, but they and the Beguines possessed property. The royal edicts had ordered the confiscation of all their houses; those of the male recluses were to be handed over to the Inquisition to serve as prisons; those of the Beguines were to be sold, part of the proceeds being devoted to public purposes, part being handed over to the Inquisitors for pious uses. In Saxony, Hesse, and Thuringia a rich harvest was reaped. Nicolas of Basel, the “Friend of God”, the invisible Pope of an invisible Church, a wandering missionary who had for years propagated the doctrines of the Brethren of the Free Spirit, and who had deceived many by his visions and revelations, was tracked by the Inquisition. He fled to Vienna with two of his disciples; they were discovered and seized; Henry of Langenstein laboured to convert them and flattered himself that he had succeeded, but they all three relapsed, and were burned. Another disciple of Nicolas, Martin of Mainz, who had formerly been a Benedictine monk, was burned at Cologne. Other heretics there were who attacked auricular confession, extreme unction, indulgences, the veneration of relics, and masses for the dead. Heretics were to be found all over Germany; they were most thickly scattered over the Upper Rhine, in Switzerland, and in Swabia, from Regensburg to the Austrian frontier, throughout Franconia, Hesse, and the Thuringian Forest. They were usually ready to seal their faith with their blood ; hundreds were burned at the stake, and the goods of the wealthy were confiscated. But with the advent of the Great Schism and the reign of King Wenzel, who, Gallio-like, cared for none of these things, persecution in great measure subsided, and the heretics were left free to believe and to propagate their heresy.

But while there was thus much pestiferous heresy and revolt against the Papacy, there were also many devout men whose sincere desire it was to remain within the obedience of the Church, but whose pious aim at the same time was to bring about an internal reform which should sweep away the worst abuses which discredited and disgraced the present system. Such were the German mystics. The chief of these, theistical but not pantheistical, was John Ruysbroek (1293-1381), the spiritual father of John Tauler, the foremost preacher of his day, and of Gerard Groot. Ruysbroek was a priest for sixty-four years of his life; he lies interred in the church of his monastery at Gruenthal. His system, of the ecstasy of contemplation, which has been criticized on the ground that it has no distinct and necessary place for the general fact of sin, is based on the principle that man has proceeded from God, and returns to Him again. Man does not, however, become in all points one with God, for God always remains God, and the creature always remains a creature; but when man gives himself up with perfect love to God, he feels that he is in union with God; but when he acts he feels that he is a separate being, distinct from God. Man attains to this unity with God through the active, the inward, and the contemplative life. The active life consists in God's service in abstinence, penitence, morality, and holy action ; the inward life consists of love toward God, oneness of heart with Him, the conquest of the senses, the guidance of the desires and senses to unity. The contemplative life consists in free communion with God, a going out of ourselves and becoming one spirit with God; its peculiarity lies in its ever satisfying, simple, but blessed repose. “This—the eternal repose—is the existence which has no mode, and which all deep spirits have chosen above all things. It is the dark silence, in which all loving hearts are lost”.

The mystics were rebels against the system of scholastic philosophy. They circumscribed the domain of reason to enlarge that of faith. Reason, says Achard, is ignorant, but faith begins by believing that which reason does not conceive; from the imperfection of reason proceeds the perfection of faith. By grace, faith knows that of which reason can acquire no certitude by experience. It is the province of reason to follow faith, not to precede her, to enable us to understand what we believe. Man’s business in this world is not to reason, but to pray; he ought to give himself up wholly to God, who will make him perfect; he ought to set up the sublime ladder of contemplation, and, like the eagle, taking flight from the things of earth, to soar into the infinite. Intelligence guided by reason is no infallible guide; the true guide is conscience illuminated by grace. To attain true knowledge, one must leave the study of these vain things on which the mark of their celestial origin is scarce apparent; one must believe, one must love, one must in­toxicate oneself with that love which communicates to the faithful soul a holy ecstasy, which transports it far away from matter to the bosom of God. The mystics longed by serene contemplation to lose themselves in God until they found Him; they sought to work out their own salvation by a closer walk with God, by communion with the Infinite. In this they resembled the early monks. The votaries of this Divine Philosophy aspired to imitate a pure and perfect model. They trod in the footsteps of the prophets who had retired to the desert; and they restored the devout and contemplative life, which had been instituted by the Essenians in Palestine and Egypt.

Other reformers there were who more nearly resembled the early friars. Filled with a like consuming love for God, with a like disdain for vain philosophy, and with a like hatred for polemics, they aspired rather to live for others than for themselves; they sought to tread in the footsteps of their master, Jesus Christ, and of sweet Saint Francis,' who, like the Master, went about doing good. A life of holy contemplation had been the ideal of John Ruysbroek; a life of holy activity was the ideal of Gerhard Groot during his short existence (1340-1384). He was the son of the burgomaster of Deventer: born in a house upon the Brink; weak and feeble in body, but active of mind from his youth up. He studied at the University of Paris from 1355 to 1358 under Henry of Kalkar, who was distinguished for his works on rhetoric and music and for a history of the Carthusian monks. Gerhard obtained his master’s degree in his eighteenth year, and then went for further study to the University of Cologne, where he first appeared as a professor. Being a man of good family, he soon obtained, in those days of pluralities, several prebends, and was made Canon of Utrecht and of Aix. He was a young prelate of the world; he ate and drank of the daintiest, he clothed himself in fine raiment, he dressed his hair with care, he enjoyed himself thoroughly in his own way, he went to all the public amusements. As he was looking on at some games in Cologne, some one said to him, “Why standest thou here intent on these vanities? Become another man”. His old tutor, Henry of Kalkar, now prior of the Carthusian monastery at Monchhuysen, met him at Utrecht; he admonished him on the vanity of this world, on death, on eternity. His words sank into Gerhard’s heart; he was overcome with emotion; he promised with God’s help to renounce the world and to lead a new life.

He began by retiring into his friend’s monastery, where he spent three years in seclusion and reflection, in penitential exercises, and in the study of the Scriptures. Then he returned to active life. He became a deacon, but refused to become a priest, saying that not for all the gold of Araby would he undertake the care of souls for a single night. He obtained from his friend Florentius, the Bishop of Utrecht, a licence to preach. He preached in the language of the people, in Low Dutch; with an easy flow of eloquence, out of the deep zeal of his love, with intense anxiety and concern for their souls, he preached to them the repentance of sin and the Gospel of Christ. “Christ died for us; we must live for Christ. Christ as delineated in the Gospels, Christ the root and the mirror of life, Christ the sole foundation of the Church”, was Gerhard’s faith; the primitive apostolic Church shone in his eyes as the model of perfection. Forsaking scholastic disputations, the “new apostle of Germany” was a revivalist of the modern type. Multitudes thronged to hear him, so that the churches were not able to contain them ; he was compelled to bring his hearers into the open air. Like Saint Francis, he eschewed scholasticism and polemics; his erudition was not great; his Latin was faulty and his Greek a negligible quantity. But he was instant in season and out, with his fellow travellers, with those who sat with him at meat, with the scholars to whom he gave books to copy; in loving humility he called upon all alike, for their souls’ sake, to flee from the wrath to come. He preached against sin, by whomsoever practised : when the Bishop of Utrecht wished to suppress concubinage among the clergy, Gerhard Groot was commissioned to preach the sermon in the General Synod in the Cathedral at Utrecht. His Sermo de forcaristis, factus in domo capitulari Trajectensi, has come down to us; it was delivered in the summer of 1383. He was no fautor of heresy; in fact, he was a malleus haereticorum. Especially inimical was he to the sect of the Free Spirit, who contemned all the holy sacraments; he pursued relentlessly the Austin friar, Bartholomaeus of Dordrecht, whose sermons smacked of this heresy. It was at this time that the strife between the regular and the secular clergy was fiercest; and Bartholomaeus had influential friends among the magistrates of Kampen. The Bishop of Utrecht was constrained to interfere; to make the blow as light as possible for his friend, he forbade all deacons to preach in his diocese. Gerhard refused to appeal against the order; until the last year of his life he never preached again. His energy was not quenched; it was diverted into another channel.

Shortly before this, in 1378, Gerhard had visited John Ruysbroek, the Prior of the Canons in the monastery at Gruenthal ; he was deeply impressed by the edifying and simple life of the mystic, and was no less impressed by the brotherly spirit which pervaded the social life of the Canons of Gruenthal; they formed a true brotherhood. Gerhard pushed 011 as far as Paris to purchase books important for the instruction of youth. When he returned to Deventer he set himself to the education of the young, and to the transcribing of good books. He employed young men as copyists; and the circle of his young friends, his scholars, and his copyists grew larger every day and soon became a regular society. One of these was Florentius Radewin, then vicar of Deventer. “Dear master”, said Florentius one day, “what harm would it do were I and these copyists to put our weekly earnings into a common fund and live together?”. “The mendicant monks would never allow it”, answered Gerhard. “But what is to prevent us trying? Perhaps God will grant us success”. “Well, then”, said Gerhard, “in God’s name begin. I will be your advocate and will faithfully defend you against them”. Thus arose the first Society of the Common Lot, soon to be followed by many other brotherhoods of the same description.

The Brethren of the Common Lot or of the Common Life, or the Brethren of Goodwill, as they sometimes styled themselves, shared their goods in common; they lived partly by their manual labour, they received but never solicited voluntary donations. Their object was, by the simplicity of their life and by religious exercises, to promote the growth of practical Christianity. Even during the life-time of Gerhard these houses of the Brethren spread as far as Saxony. Each house, as a general rule, consisted of about twenty members, four priests, eight clerks, and the rest laymen on probation. Only after a year of rigorous probation was a layman admitted as a clerk ; even then no vow was taken from him, and he was at liberty to leave at any time on settling accounts. The brethren dressed in grey; they had fixed hours for devotional exercises and for labour; they dined together. A rector and a vice-rector presided over each house; and certain of the brethren were entrusted with the offices of steward, of head copyist, of librarian, of master of the novices, of keeper of the infirmary or hospital; but no hard and fast rule was established; each house made its own arrangements. The same was the case with the trades practised; the transcribing and dissemination of holy books was the chief end for which the houses existed; but the industry of each house depended upon its special aptitude. The house at Hildesheim was a manufactory of mass-books and of clerical garments; the Convent of St. Mary at Beverwijk traded in parchment, honey, wax, and salt-fish; the house at Hattem practised only agriculture and weaving.

The house of the Brethren at Deventer, being the earliest, was regarded as the parent-house, and its rector was looked upon as the common father of the Brethren. When Gerhard Groot died of the plague in 1384, he appointed Florentius Radewin to be his successor; and when Radewin died he appointed Emilius van Buren. Next to the dissemination of the Scriptures, the education of the young was the principal work of the brethren. Gerhard Groot’s scheme was simplicity itself: he aimed to teach a godly life; he eschewed arithmetic, geometry, logic, rhetoric, grammar, and the like. First he taught the Gospel, then the lives of the saints, then the Epistles of Saint Paul and the Acts of the Apostles, then the works of Bernard, Anselm, and Augustine. Reading, writing, singing, Latin spoken and written, and religion were the subjects taught at the schools of the Brethren. The teaching was not so superficial as in the conventual schools; it was not confined only to those who could pay, as in the town-schools of Holland at this time. The instructs was not generally gratuitous, but poor students were given their subsistence and the means of study. The schools of the Brethren flourished exceedingly: that at Groeningen was frequented by extraordinary numbers; that at Herzogenbusch numbered twelve hundred scholars. Wherever a large number of pupils was assured, the services of more distinguished teachers were permanently retained; classics were put into the hands of the scholars and improved grammars were introduced; scholastic Latin was superseded by Latin which Cicero could have understood. Their preaching also was in the vulgar tongue, so as to be understood by the people. Some preached only for a quarter of an hour, others for three or even six hours; the people listened eagerly. They also gave collations, “a sort of edifying private addresses”.'Preaching, except in Latin, was almost a lost art; but now a succession of distinguished men made their appearance in Holland. John Binkerink, John Gronde, Wermbold, William Henrici, Henry Gronde, Hugo Aurifaber, Giesebert Don, and Brother Paulus, all, there is reason to believe, preached in the style and spirit of Gerhard and Florentius. In the next century, from the monastery on Mount Saint Agnes, came one Thomas à Kempis, “the ablest expounder and most successful propagator” of the Christian mysticism of the Brethren, the author of that wonderful work which has had more influence than any other book save the Bible on the religious life of Christendom.

The communities of the Brethren and of the Sisters of the Common Life gave latitude without coherence, and their founder felt that something more was needed to perfect his scheme. A backbone was wanted for the system, some central organism to which these outlying members would be articulated, something which should provide a rule and example for their life, and a safeguard for their wellbeing and protection. Gerhard recognized that some central authority was needed for counsel, support, and guidance; he saw that if this supreme power were centred in some well-ordered and regularly sanctioned body, it would help to keep the Brethren together, to protect them from external corrupting influences, to shelter them from the malicious machinations of the mendicant orders, and from others who wished them ill.

For some years Groot had to this end designed to establish an order of Canons, but death came to him before he had carried out his scheme. As he lay a-dying, he called Florentius and others to him and charged them to form such a monastery as he described. He did not wish his order to be of the severe and secluded Carthusian or Cistercian pattern; he desired a monastery of Canons Regular of the Order of Saint Augustine. There was a waste piece of ground on the bank of the Yssel, between Deventer and Zwolle, which he designated as suitable for the purpose. Here, two years after the death of Gerhard Groot, the monastery of Windesheim was founded. The Duke of Guelders countenanced the undertaking. Bertholf ten Hove and Lambert Stuerman gave the land; several rich men endowed the institution; the Bishop of Utrecht sanctioned and approved. Six years later, in 1392, a second monastery, the Fountain of the Blessed Mary, was founded at Arnheim; to be followed by the monastery of the New Light, near Hoern, and by that of Mount Saint Agnes, the site of which had been chosen by Gerhard long years before, though it was not founded until 1398. Eventually the number of monasteries in Germany, the Low Countries, and the north and centre of France, increased to four score. The Canons took the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience; they provided leaders for the brotherhoods; they disseminated the knowledge of the Gospel; they enlarged the area and extended the scope of popular education. But the greatest glory of the Brotherhoods of the Common Life is to have produced such humanists as Agricola and Hegius, Busch and Lange, Wessel and Erasmus, and to have indirectly by their criticism of sacred and secular works prepared the way for the Reformation.

A spirit of reform, akin to that which animated the Brothers of the Common Life, manifested itself in the fourteenth century in Bohemia, where the fostering care of the Emperor Charles the Fourth had raised the clergy generally in education and morality to a higher level than their brethren in the rest of the Empire. Here also the quarrel was with the Friars. Conrad Waldhauser, an Augustine Canon, was invited by the Emperor from Austria to Prague, and began his ministrations in 1360. In his sermons he scourged the arrogance, avarice, and sensual luxury of his listeners; the multitudes thronged to hear him, so that there was no room for them in any church, and Conrad had to preach in the open squares. Usurers ceased their usury and offered to restore their ill-gotten gains; men ceased to molest merchants' daughters in the churches; women sacrificed their finery, their costly veils, their robes decked with gold and pearls. Could the founders of the Friars return to the earth, said Conrad, their present disciples would stone them. The Augustinian Hermits and the Dominican Friars tried to convict him of heresy, but their efforts failed : Conrad’s influence in Prague remained unabated until his death in 1369.

Conrad preached in the German language, in a style noted for simplicity, clearness, and accuracy; Milic preached in the Bohemian tongue, and his poetical rhapsodies appealed to the emotions and passions of his hearers. He was Prebendary of the Prague Cathedral and Vice-Chancellor to the Emperor, but in 1363 he gave up place and power in order to follow Christ in poverty and to preach His word. The “son and image of our Lord Jesus Christ”, he meditated on the old prophecies and the Revelation until Antichrist became an obsession to him; he saw its influence in everything, in the clergy from the archbishops down to the friars; he discovered that Antichrist would appear in person in the world in 1366. He went so far as on one occasion to attack Charles the Fourth himself, and was thrown into prison by the archbishop; but the Emperor did not remove his favour from him, and Milic appealed to Rome. He went to Rome and there got again thrown into prison, but when Urban the Fifth came back from Avignon, Milic was released and returned to Prague and his preaching again. Antichrist retired into the background; Milic attacked immorality with such fervour and effect that the Venetian quarter in Prague, where the women of evil fame lived, became deserted by its inmates and was pulled down to build a penitentiary, known as Jerusalem. Milic supported on a voluntary system both this institution and his house for converts, and was often hard pressed for funds; but he devoted to the work all the rich gifts which came to him, for he was confessor and spiritual director to hundreds. His influence was enormous. The Mendicant Friars attacked him, and brought twelve charges of heresy against him ; Milic set out for Avignon, cleared himself of every suspicion of heresy, but fell ill and died in 1374, before judgment was pronounced.

What Waldhauser and Milic had endeavoured to effect by the living voice, Mathias of Janow, the son of a Bohemian knight, did by his writings. He had studied in Paris, had lived in Home and Nuernberg, and was appointed by Pope Urban the Sixth to be Prebendary of Prague. His chief work, on the Maxims of the Old and New Testaments, exercised an immense influence in his own time, though subsequent ages found it insufficient; he deducted four fundamental principles from the Old and eight from the New Testament, troubling himself but little about the dogma but much about the practice of Christianity, the love of God and one’s neighbour, meekness and self-sacrifice, the imitation of Christ in all things. He was a great advocate for frequent communion by the laity, as were others of the more learned among his Bohemian contemporaries; but he was always an obedient son of the Church, and gave up his advocacy of daily communion and of communion in both kinds at her bidding, and also recanted his condemnation of the veneration of shrines and relics. Janow died in 1394; but many professors and preachers in Prague carried on the work begun by Waldhauser, Milic, and Janow. They resembled the school at Deventer in their efforts toward a reformation of life and morals, in their teaching and preaching in the vulgar tongue, in their promulgation of the Holy Scriptures ; but they differed from that school in so far that they established no brotherhoods nor monasteries, and so left no settled organization to carry on the work of internal reformation. In Western Germany and in Bohemia alike the reformers were faithful children of the Church, and were bitterly opposed to and opposed by the Friars.

These efforts at internal reform, unlike the movements of Wycliffe and of Hus, which have largely a political character, were free from all taint of heresy. The promoters were indeed accused of heresy by the Friars, but they had no difficulty in clearing themselves. They were always ready to submit all points of doctrine to the arbitrament of the Pope, and they desired nothing so much as to remain in the bosom of the Holy Roman Church.

In the internal reform of the Church in matters of pure theology a predominating influence was exercised by the University of Paris, the “eldest daughter of the King”, which in the sphere of ecclesiastical politics had acquired a unique position in Europe. Its scholars were citizens of the world : though almost all the greatest schoolmen from the time of Abelard onwards taught in Paris at one period or another of their lives, hardly one Parisian Scholastic of the very first rank was a Frenchman by birth. The University owed its importance, partly to its position in the capital city of France, in which it differed from the English Universities, and partly to its organization, by which its judgment in matters theological was backed by the weight of numbers—by its hundreds of Masters of Arts and its thousands of students, wherein it differed from the Universities of Italy. It became the tribunal of orthodoxy. In opposition to the Franciscans it condemned their doctrine of Apostolic Poverty; in opposition to the Dominicans it upheld the Franciscan doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin; in opposition to the Franciscans and the Pope it condemned the doctrine of the Retardation of the Beatific Vision, so that John the Twenty-second apologized for expressing an opinion when he was not a Doctor of Divinity; in opposition to the Dominicans and Franciscans alike it upheld the rights of the secular clergy. It was abundantly clear that in the dissensions and discussions consequent on the Great Schism the voice of the University of Paris would be one of the clearest and most authoritative.





The Seventy Years’ Captivity of the Popes at Avignon came to an end in 1377. Urban the Fifth had returned to Rome ten years earlier, but he had again deserted the Eternal City for Avignon; he died three months after his return, and his death was regarded as the judgment of God upon him in abandoning Rome. It had been foretold by Saint Brigitta of Sweden. “If he should return” she had said, “he will in a brief while receive such a stroke that his teeth will gnash, his sight will be darkened and grow dim, and all the limbs of his body will tremble, . . . and he will render account before God of the things which he has done”. Gregory the Eleventh, stimulated by Saint Catharine of Siena, the successor of the Swedish prophetess, returned to Rome at the end of 1377; he meditated a like treachery with Urban, but his return to Avignon was prevented by his death (March 27, 1378).

The return of Gregory was indeed a political necessity if the Papal States were to be saved to the Church. Gerard du Puy had in 1372 succeeded Cardinal d'Estaing as Vicar Apostolic of Perugia, and in 1374 Guillaume de Noellet was appointed Papal Legate of Bologna. These two rulers exasperated their subjects by their ruthless cruelty, and a spirit of opposition to papal oppression blazed out and spread through the surrounding country; they excited the hatred of their own people and the distrust of their neighbours. Florence, suffering from pestilence and famine, expected the usual convoys of grain from Bologna; the Legate not only stopped the export, but sent soldiers to ravage the Florentine fields in which the new grain was ripening. This was the culminating outrage. Florence took the lead in a war of Liberty, to free the people who were groaning under the hated yoke of the French Legates. The movement spread like wildfire. In ten days eighty towns and castles threw off the yoke of the Church. The Pope put Florence under an interdict, and procured the confiscation of Florentine goods through France and England. In 1376 Bologna joined the league against the Church. Cardinal Robert of Geneva was sent as Legate of the Romagna and the March of Ancona; he took over charge of the Company of the Bretons, well known for their savage and brutal ferocity, and made his way to Ferrara. He tried to provoke the men of Bologna to battle, but they refused to come forth from behind their walls. Robert of Geneva announced his intention of not leaving Bologna until he had washed his hands and his feet in the blood of her citizens. He was constrained to go into winter quarters, however, in the friendly town of Cesena. The Bretons treated the town as if they had taken it by assault; they plundered the houses of the citizens, they ravished their wives and daughters. On the 1st February 1377 some of the townsfolk attacked the Bretons and killed three hundred of them; the Cardinal acknowledged that his soldiers were in the wrong, and promised a complete amnesty to Cesena if the citizens would again open their gates to him. They believed him, and did so. The Cardinal thereupon ordered a general massacre. He hounded on his troops, crying out for “Blood, Blood : Kill them all!” he shouted. The bloody massacre of Cesena sent a thrill of horror through Italy : it necessitated the return of the Pope to Rome.

Bologna, which had been the last to join, was the first to abandon the league, and to return to her allegiance to the Pope; she was to have the right of free government, and consented to receive a Vicar Apostolic. Vico followed suit. Florence, being abandoned by her most powerful allies, herself opened negotiations with Gregory. A peace conference was held at Sarzana, under the presidency of Bernabo Visconti. Before the terms had been arranged, on the evening of March 27, 1378, there came a knocking at the city gate, and a cry, “Open quickly to the messenger of Peace”. The gate was opened, but no one was there. Then a cry ran through Sarzana, “The Olive has come, the Peace is made”. It was at this day and hour that Pope Gregory the Eleventh died.

The election of the new Pope was everywhere expected with the utmost anxiety; it was universally recognized as a momentous event. Gregory himself had been filled with the gloomiest forebodings. From his death-bed he had issued a Bull ordering the cardinals then in Rome to proceed at once to the new election without awaiting the arrival of their absent colleagues. There were sixteen cardinals then in the city : ten of them were Frenchmen, four were Italians. Six of the French cardinals were of the Limousin faction, connected by birth or otherwise with the families of the last three Popes; the other four French cardinals constituted the Gallican faction, and were bitterly opposed to the Limousins. With the Gallicans acted the two remaining cardinals, Pedro de Luna, the favourite of Saint Catharine, and Robert of Geneva, who only a year earlier (3rd February 1377) had perpetrated the bloody massacre of Cesena. A majority of two-thirds was necessary for election : the French or Gallican party was resolved that there should be no fresh Limousin Pope; they would have preferred one of themselves, but recognised that of this there was no chance. The young Roman Cardinal, Jacopo Orsini, counting on the aid of the nobles and the populace, dreamed that the tiara might fall to him. The Gallicans would have preferred Pierre Flandrin or Guillaume de Noellet.

Rome itself was in a turmoil: the nobles and high officials of the Church were expelled from the city; the Romans themselves were in a state of frantic excitement. They were determined that the divorce of the Papacy from their city should no longer continue, that the profits which pilgrims and others brought to the dwelling-place of the Pope should be theirs; they were decided that no Frenchman should be Pope; they desired a Roman, or at all events an Italian. Popular feeling ran to fever-heat. Each division of the French cardinals was ready to side with the Italians rather than vote for the candidate of the opposite faction; and the hopes of Orsini began to run high.

In this state, on the 7th April, with dissensions in their own body and with a violent tumult raging outside, the cardinals entered the upper story in which the conclave was held. Nature itself seemed to take part in the strife; a storm of thunder and lightning came on; men said that the lightning struck the cells of Robert of Geneva and Pedro de Luna, the future anti-popes. The multitude howled without: “Romano, Romano volemo lo Papa, o almanco Italiano!”. They swore to make the heads of the cardinals as red as their hats; they piled with faggots the room over which the conclave was held; they threatened death to the cardinals if their wishes were not consulted. Bartolommeo Prignano, Archbishop of Bari, said to a friend, “He who is elected in such a tumult can never be Pope; nobody will recognize him”. All through the night the populace kept up the din; peasants from the hills broke into the Vatican cellars and drank up the good papal wine; men beat against the floor under the conclave with their pikes and halberds; they rang all the church bells of the city and sounded the tocsin of the Capitol; in the morning they forced the doors of the conclave. Three cardinals came out to parley with the ringleaders, who threatened to tear them in pieces if they did not at once elect a Roman or an Italian. It was necessary to do something, and that speedily. The cardinals promised to satisfy the wishes of the multitude, and consulted together. Divers plans were suggested. Finally Jean de Cros, Cardinal of Limoges, of the Limousin faction, proposed that no one of the cardinals should be elected, but that one outside the sacred college should be chosen, and he named the Archbishop of Bari as future Pope : he was an Italian, a Neapolitan, and his election would satisfy those who insisted on an Italian as Pope. Moreover, the archbishop “had lately bought himself a house and a vineyard in Rome, in order to qualify as a Roman citizen”. The Limousin faction also secretly comforted themselves with the reflection that Bartolommeo Prignano had risen to his present position through the patronage of the Cardinal of Pampeluna, who was a Limousin, so that if elected they judged and hoped that he would be grateful to the Limousin party. All the cardinals thought that they would find in the Archbishop of Bari, who had lived for some years at the court at Avignon, a ready and subservient tool. Bartolommeo Prignano was accordingly elected Pope. The name of “Bari, Bari”, was called out to the Roman crowd; they mistook it for the name of the Limousin, Jean de Bar, and rushed into the conclave, threatening death to the traitor cardinals. Then old Tebaldeschi, the Cardinal of Saint Peter’s, was presented to the mob; but the aged prelate’s cries, protestations, and curses at length undeceived them. The cardinals fled from the palace. Two days later, to the intense joy of the populace, the Archbishop of Bari was crowned Pope, and took the name of Urban the Sixth. The cardinals wrote to those of their number who had remained behind at Avignon, announcing to them that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit they had unanimously elected the Archbishop of Bari to be Pope, that he had duly taken his seat on the apostolic throne, and that he had been crowned on the day of Our Lord’s Resurrection.

The new Pope was a short, fat man, a dark-faced Nea­politan, filled with a certain monkish piety, with a hatred of pomp and of simony, but brusque and impetuous, utterly devoid of tact and self-restraint, and without any knowledge of the world. Had he known how to appreciate the circumstances aright, he would have seen a great future opening before him. There is no doubt that his election, though it may have been tainted with irregularity, was canonically valid. It had been held in the midst of a tumult, and the cardinals had not been bricked up according to custom. But they had solemnly declared that they had elected him freely and advisedly; they had appeared at his coronation; nay, more, they stood by him, obeyed him, accepted and solicited favours from him not only immediately after his election, but for the first three months of his reign. Their conduct during this time confirmed, if any confirmation were necessary, the canonicity and regularity of his election. The new Pope was recognized by the cardinals, was recognized through Christendom, as being the true and canonical Pope. Up to the end of July not a breath of suspicion tainted the validity of the election. But Urban himself knew as well as any man the peculiar circumstances which had attended his elevation. He was fully aware of the contentions which divided the sacred college, of the motives which had led the cardinals to give their suffrages to an outsider. Had he been of politic mind, he would have given some thought to the conciliation of the cardinals, at any rate during the first months of his pontificate, in order to consolidate his position. Though not a cardinal, he had lived at Avignon, and was aware of the weight and influence of the College; he knew that the cardinals considered themselves the equals of kings, and that they were everywhere treated with the utmost respect and ceremony. He knew also that many of them expected him to return to Avignon. He was resolved not to return, and herein he was right; but he might have shown consideration and sympathy for the lofty dignitaries whose wishes he was thwarting, who had raised him to be the spiritual Lord of Christendom. He showed none; he was habitually rude and insulting to the members of the sacred College; he abused and stormed at them; he called them fools and liars; he sprang from his seat, intending to attack one of them; he threatened to swamp their influence by creating new Italian cardinals. They had thought that he would be their creature, ready to do whatever they wished; but he, on the other hand, relying on the sympathy of the Romans, soon showed that he had played a humble part long enough, that he was now Pope and was determined to be absolute master. He was brutally overbearing and insolent to the Cardinal of Amiens, who had taken no part in the election, but who returned on Low Sunday, April 25th, to report the result of the negotiations which he had conducted with Florence, after the war of the republics against Holy Church. The Pope charged the Cardinal with destroying the peace of the world by his treacherous diplomacy; the angry Cardinal retorted that had it been merely the Archbishop of Bari who said so, he would have told him that he lied in his throat. The insult to his honour rankled in the proud Frenchman’s breast; it was he who afterwards first suggested to his colleagues that the election of Urban might be declared void.

Nevertheless, from April on to July the cardinals recognized Urban as Pope, and breathed not a word of doubt as to the validity of their choice. In electing him they had made a mistake, and too late they discovered their error. To repair it, they resolved willfully to sacrifice the welfare of Christendom. Under the pretext of escaping from the heat they obtained permission to leave Rome, and betook themselves to Agnani. The chamberlain, Pierre de Cros, who had charge of the tiara and the papal ornaments, took them with him and accompanied the cardinals. Pedro de Luna, who had backed up Urban all through, was the last to go. From Agnani they wrote to the four Italian cardinals who still remained at Rome, pointing out that the recent election had been forced and irregular, and was therefore void. Three of the four joined them; old Tebaldeschi died. Urban, utterly abandoned, wept and recognized his own folly now that it was too late. All the cardinals who had elected him were now banded together against him. He determined, if possible, to check­mate them, and on the 18th September he created twenty-six new cardinals, several of whom refused the proffered honour. Two days later the old cardinals, who had meantime moved to Fondi for greater security—Urban having quarrelled with the Count of Fondi—elected Robert of Geneva, the perpetrator of the bloody massacre of Cesena, as Pope. He took the style of Clement the Seventh. Thus arose the Great Schism.

To us at the present day, as we read the history and consider the circumstances of the time, it may not be surprising that there should thus have arisen two rival Popes; but to the ordinary unlettered man of the Middle Ages it was incomprehensible and inexplicable, a thing of wonder and amazement. There had been anti-popes before, but never before had there been two Popes elected by the same, or practically the same, body of cardinals. The unity of the Holy Roman Empire, considering the portions that had been reft from it, considering also the growing rivalry of independent nations, might have become almost a lost idea; but the Unity of the Papacy had hitherto remained secure and unshaken, a fixed rock on which the faith of Christendom was founded. There could, men thought, be but one head of the Church on earth, even as there was but one head in Heaven. The clergy everywhere acknowledged the over-lordship of one Pope. Bishops everywhere were collated, many were directly appointed by him. Peter’s Pence still flowed in from the northern nations of Europe, the tribute of the humblest Christians to their one Father. The regular clergy acknowledged the one Pope as their head, and knew no other superior outside their convent walls. Pardoners traversed all countries selling indulgences which they claimed to have obtained direct from the Pope. The wandering friars brought his name home to the poorest and meanest. Every man in Christendom knew that there was one Pope, one supreme Father over the hearts of all true believers. But now that the Schism had begun, now that there were two Popes, the prospect to a lowly Christian soul must have been awful in its perplexity. Each of the rival pontiffs hurled his thunders of anathema against the other, each excommunicated the other and all who adhered to him. That the rightful Pope had the power of consigning the victims of his denunciations to everlasting damnation no true Christian ventured to doubt. But who held this power? who was the rightful Pope? In the heart of a kingdom a man might be content to follow without question the faith of his ruler; the German and the Englishman would believe in Urban, the Frenchman and the Scot would believe in Clement, but on the borders, where one village owned one obedience and the next owned another, the doubt and dismay must at times have been heartrending. Even where one Pope was generally acknowledged, there was always1 some town or community which held for his rival; often there was a division in the same town or even in the same house; so that no one could find peace or rest on either side, and men's consciences were troubled by doubt as to which was the true Head of the Church, and on which side one could render to God real and acceptable service.

In the political and ecclesiastical worlds the Great Schism introduced a new element of discord. France held for Clement, England for Urban. Scotland precipitately, Castile, Aragon, and Navarre more deliberately and independently, followed the lead of France. Portugal, vacillating with the event of war, eventually embraced the cause of Urban. In the Levant the powerful influence of Venice and of Genoa was exercised for the Pope at Rome; but Clement was not without followers in Corfu, in Albania, in Morea, in the Island of Cyprus, and among the cavaliers of Saint John of Jerusalem. Charles the Fifth had fondly hoped to gain the adherence of Germany for Clement, but to King Wenzel and to Germany generally the legitimacy of Pope Urban was as clear as the sun at noonday : Prokop of Moravia, however, thought otherwise; so too did the Duke of Juliers, the Count de la Marck, the Count of Cleves, possibly also Albert of Bavaria. Flanders consulted the doctors of Bologna and pronounced for Urban; then followed the indecisive crusade of Bishop Despenser of Norwich (1383), when the Urbanists donned the white bonnet with the red cross; this was succeeded next year by the death of Louis de Male, Count of Flanders, and the accession of the Duke of Burgundy : Philip the Bold was a Clementist, and used his influence for Pope Clement, but he left his new subjects free to follow their own convictions.4 Duke Leopold of Austria sold himself for a price to Pope Clement; but the fatal day of Sempach (9th July 1386) restored his dominions, Styria, Carinthia, the Tirol, Austria, Switzerland, Swabia, and Alsace, to the obedience of Pope Urban. Holland, Luxemburg, Brabant, Hainault, Lorraine, and Savoy all acknowledged Clement as the rightful Pope. King Louis the Great of Hungary was on the side of Urban; his sister-in-law, Joanna of Naples, soon took that of Clement. The Duke of Mecklenburg and the King of Norway were contending for the crown of Sweden and Denmark; Norway adhered to Clement, his opponent to Urban. In Naples, where the childless queen Joanna had married her fourth husband, Pope Urban the Sixth, who had no desire to see the country pass into German hands, refused to crown Otto, Duke of Brunswick, and treated him with studied insolence. This alienated the queen, who passed over to the Clementine faction, and subsequently adopted the Duke of Anjou. Urban favoured at first the party of her rival, Charles of Durazzo, until he quarrelled with him and excommunicated him; in Naples the party of Ladislas, son of Charles of Durazzo, became ultimately the Roman party, while that of the Duke of Anjou remained throughout Clementine. In ecclesiastical appointments the same division occurred. Adolf of Nassau, Archbishop of Mainz, declared at first for Clement; the Archbishops of Cologne and Trier declared for Urban. Where an election was disputed, it goes without saying that one candidate was on the side of one Pope and his rival on the side of the other : this was the case in Liege, in Basel, in Metz, in Constance, in Chur, in Lübeck, and in other bishoprics.

France, more than any other country, had been responsible for the Schism. Urban the Sixth was crowned on Easter Sunday 1378; before the end of May a sergeant-at-arms and four of his secretaries brought the news to King Charles the Fifth; they were followed next month by four persons attached to certain of the cardinals; and shortly afterwards the discontented cardinals themselves, and among them the King’s old counsellor, Jean de la Grange, Cardinal of Amiens, who had been so grossly insulted by Urban, wrote to Charles warning him to give no credence to the official account of the Pope’s election. Urban himself sent two messengers, Francesco Tortello and Pierre de Murles; but the latter was a secret envoy of the cardinals. In August the cardinals sent from Agnani a messenger, Jean de Guignicourt, to announce officially to the King that the election of Urban had been null and void. Charles sent the sum of twenty thousand francs for their assistance; he wrote also to Queen Joanna of Naples to offer them shelter in case of need; he assured the cardinals themselves of his goodwill, and his letter reached them two days before they elected Robert of Geneva. All this was done by the King before the clergy of France were consulted, before any official declaration of policy was made. For several months the entire kingdom of France, like the rest of Europe, had recognized Urban the Sixth as the true Pope; and the subsequent recognition of Clement the Seventh was not universal in France, and met with special opposition in Normandy. If the King of France did not exercise any direct pressure on the cardinals, if independently of his action the Schism would certainly have occurred, still he was undoubtedly an accessory after the fact. There can be no doubt that Charles the Fifth, being persuaded of the validity of Clement’s election, hoped to get him recognized not only by the Celtic nations, but by nearly all the Christian nations of Europe, and that he counted in particular on his good relations with the German Empire : had he lived to continue his cautious, able, and persevering policy, the result might possibly have been eventually other than it was. But Charles died on the 16th September 1380, and the Schism became established. In the eyes of the other nations of Europe too, France was responsible for the Schism. To them the captivity of the Popes at Avignon had rendered the Pope the confederate, the willing servant, almost the tool, of the King of France. The later Avignonese Popes had indeed been much more independent than they had had popular credit for; but their position in the Provencal country, within easy access of France, and far removed from the influence of Italy and Germany, was fatal to their credit as the impartial head of Christendom. When they removed to Rome again, the French influence was necessarily and visibly diminished; and men generally believed that it was to regain the lost influence that France had fostered the Schism.

The real authors of the Schism were the cardinals. To excuse themselves they accused themselves of a pitiful cowardice which Cardinal Orsini, Pedro de Luna, and others of their number certainly never felt. To attribute the election of Urban to coercion and intimidation was absurd, in the case of fighting men like Robert of Geneva and Gerard de Puy. The great majority of the cardinals were Frenchmen, and the old pleasant days at Avignon beckoned them back to the sinful city. The prospect of a life in Italy, in a ruinous city, amid a turbulent populace, under the thumb of an unmannerly, overbearing pontiff who might at any moment treat any of them with the brutal harshness which he manifested subsequently in the case of the six cardinals whom he accused of conspiracy,1 was not alluring. There had been enough violence and tumult to give colour to the plea that the election was forced and not free, and they determined to avail themselves of this plea. To their own greed and welfare they sacrificed the interest of the Church, and brought on her a grievous affliction of which no one could foresee the issue. The cardinals were the real, France was the ostensible, author of the Great Schism.

While the Great Schism, the greatest affliction which had ever befallen her since the degenerate days of the Harlots, was thus beginning to desolate the Church, there were everywhere apparent through the countries of Western Europe the signs of conflict and distress. The prosperity which had attended the close of the thirteenth century had disappeared much of the Continent was in a state of very slow recovery from long-continued war—from war which meant the burning of churches and homesteads, the destruction of crops, the houghing and harrying of cattle, the murder of peasants and burghers from whom no ransom could be expected. By the end of the century England, France, Spain, and the Scandinavian countries had all been troubled by wars of succession. Black Margaret, the daughter of King Waldemar, in 1397 succeeded in uniting Norway, Sweden, and Denmark under her single rule. In the Spanish peninsula the struggle was of older date and of longer continuance. Alfonso the Eleventh of Castile at his death left a legitimate son, Pedro the Cruel, by his wife Mary of Portugal, and an illegitimate son, Henry of Trastamara, by his leman, the beautiful Eleanor de Guzman. In Spain a bastard always stood a better chance of recognition and succession than in the Teutonic lands, and although Pedro won the crown of Castile for his own lifetime, Henry of Trastamara succeeded him. On his death, however, in 1379, a fresh war broke out, in which the title of Henry's son, John, was contested by the King of Portugal and by the Duke of Lancaster. One of John of Gaunt’s daughters was married to the King of Portugal, but the ambitious duke did not scruple to desert his son-in-law, to marry another daughter to the son of the reigning King of Castile, and to conclude peace (1387). Aragon was spared for the present its war of succession; it was soon to come. Navarre was ruled by the French prince Charles the Bad, a traitor to his own country, a friend to Edward the Third; he died in 1387. On the east of the Empire the Teutonic Order of knights had by the force of the sword converted to the true faith much of heathen Prussia; and the Poles and Lithuanians had nominally embraced Christianity when their king, Jagello, christened Ladislas at his baptism, had married the beautiful Hedwig, the youngest daughter of the late mighty King of Hungary, Louis the Great, who died in 1382.

The three most powerful kingdoms of Western Europe, England, France, and Germany, had by the year 1380 fallen to three boys, each of whom succeeded a firm and powerful sovereign who had done much to win for his country the position which it held and the respect which it inspired. In 1377 Richard the Second, born without a skin, and nourished in the skins of goats, had succeeded his grandfather at the age of ten; in Germany, Wenzel had at the age of sixteen, in 1378, succeeded his father Charles the Fourth; and in France, two years later, Charles the Sixth had succeeded his father Charles the Fifth, deservedly known as Charles le Sage. Edward the Third of England was a warrior who had brought great gain and glory to his own country, and who had wrought untold woe on France by prosecuting his claim to the French crown; but the war had languished since the Peace of Bretigny (1360), and Charles the Fifth, by his policy of masterly inactivity and his care and economy, had done much toward the recovery of France. Even after his death and up to the close of the century peace continued for the most part unbroken; and the untiring industry and patient thrift, which then as now characterized the French peasant, began to work an improvement; agriculture and industry recovered, the barns which had been burned down were rebuilt, the vines were replanted, the fields were again covered with crops. But the improvement was not for long; the old reign of misery was to recommence with the cruel civil war which broke out between the Orleanists and the Armagnacs.

The three young kings had each a hard game to play. Richard and Charles were left under the tutelage of their uncles, and each of their uncles had his own separate selfish policy. Each of the three boys was handsome and lovable; each at times displayed a kingly vigour; but each was doomed to give way to periods of inaction and to bouts of self-indulgence. Richard the Second was beautiful and pleasure-loving, like his mother, the Fair Maid of Kent. Charles the Sixth loved his people, and was loved by them his whole life through; but he was ruined and maddened by sensuality and voluptuousness, by the nights and days of feasting and debauchery into which he was plunged by his uncles. Marriage produced no improvement, but rather deepened the evil. His wife’s court was described by the Augustine monk, Legrand, as the court of Venus, served by drunkenness and debauchery, and where night was turned into day by the most dissolute dances. The continued tax on his strength broke him down. A melancholy madness seized the King in 1392, which rendered him incapable of government for lengthened intervals thereafter; it was attributed by the people to sorcery. It was recognized by all that the King of France was but a madman with lucid intervals. He was betrayed by his wife, the beautiful, but soon somewhat corpulent, Isabel of Bavaria, but was so fairly entreated by his “sweet sister”, Valentine Visconti, that all men deemed that she by sorcery had bereft him of reason. The King's madness not only delivered the kingdom to the selfish intrigues of his uncles, but also introduced to active life his younger brother, the handsome Louis of Orleans, the inconstant husband of the beauteous Milanese, a far more attractive and brilliant figure than the Duke of Berri or the Duke of Burgundy, but equally devoted to his own selfish aims, and equally regardless of the welfare of France. From this time the kingdom was a prey, in the intervals of Charles’s insanity, to his uncles and his brother, and the factions were already forming which were to become notorious as the Burgundians and Armagnacs.

In Germany the astute Emperor Charles the Fourth had been preeminently a peacemaker, and had succeeded in establishing the imperial authority over the numberless particles which made up the grand, but ill-assorted, Holy Romano-Germanic Empire. When Charles died, his son Wenzel reigned well and tolerably wisely for the first ten years, although he sacrificed his own interest and the interest of the Empire in helping his half-brother Sigismund, whom he loved, but who repaid his love and sacrifice with the basest ingratitude; it was after the first ten years of his reign had elapsed that Wenzel gave way to slothfulness and drink. It was while he was thus inefficient that, at the further side of Europe, the Osmanlis had entered the continent, and the Greek Empire was tottering to its fall; the Emperor Manuel was a suppliant for aid at the courts of Venice, Paris, and London. It was the recognized task of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire to defend Christendom against the Turk; but the work now fell on the shoulders of the stalwart young warrior, Sigismund of Hungary. He tried to make headway against the misbelievers; a crusade was preached, and the King raised a mighty army; he was joined by the flower of the French chivalry under John of Nevers, eldest son of the Duke of Burgundy; by the Germans under Count Rupert of the Palatine, Count Hermann of Cilly, John of Nuernberg, and others; by contingents from Poland and Wallachia; by crusaders from England under their future king; by the fleets of Venice and the Chevaliers of Rhodes. Through the impetuous folly and vanity of the French, who set at nought the superior knowledge and advice of Sigismund, the whole of this magnificent army was defeated at the battle of Nicopolis (1396) with such overwhelming loss that Eastern Europe appeared to lie at the mercy of the infidel.

Four years later the succession to the Holy Roman Empire, the highest temporal power then known to the civilized world, was in dispute. The story will be told more in detail later on. It is only necessary to refer to it here to complete a brief sketch of the state of Europe at the end of the four­teenth century. Wenzel’s apathy and disregard of the affairs of the Empire had disgusted certain of the Electors; he had neglected imperial interests in Flanders, he had sold the duchy of Milan for a price, he had not terminated the Great Schism which afflicted the Church; therefore the four Electors of the Rhine, the other three holding aloof, called upon him to appear and to answer these charges. It was true that Wenzel had fallen woefully from his first estate. Originally of a good disposition and most carefully educated by his father, he had allowed himself to fall under the influence of low-born favourites, and had given way to sloth and indecision; he had become a sot, plagued with a thirst which was popularly attributed to the dregs of poison lurking in his system; he had sold the freedom of a city for four hundred tons of wine annually; he had loved with an engrossing, inordinate love Bohemian lasses and Bohemian beer; he had proved himself, and he was conscious that he was, utterly incapable of managing the affairs of a great Empire. But he was tenacious of his dignity, and he could appoint a regent to do the work. The three archbishops of the Rhine and the Count Palatine met at the little white chapel which still overlooks the confluence of the Lahn and the Rhine, and they solemnly deposed Wenzel; next day the three archbishops, one holding the proxy of the Count Palatine, crossed the river to Rense, and at the Koenigstuhl under the walnut-trees, on the left bank of the Rhine—the platform which had been built by Charles the Fourth as being within call of four electorates, the platform which was used on this occasion and never again— they proclaimed Rupert, Count Palatine, to be henceforth King of the Romans and future Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Wenzel refused to recognize the deposition or to give up the regalia; there were henceforth two kings in Germany, and a schism was produced which lasted through the first ten years of the fifteenth century.

Italy was a land apart, utterly different from every other country in Europe. In culture, in intellect, in imagination she was far ahead of them all. The old classical authors were read, loved, and imitated. Where other countries were making puny, childlike efforts toward art and culture, the endeavours of Italy were great, almost Titanic. Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, three names to resound for ages, had appeared and had passed away, taking their seats among the immortals. Cimabue and Giotto had founded the modern school of Italian painting. Nicolo Pisano had carved the famous pulpit in the Baptistery at Pisa and had left a school of sculptors behind him. In architecture, in which the preeminence of Italy was perhaps less marked, it is enough to mention such buildings as the Duomo at Florence, the Cathedral of Milan, the Doges’ Palace at Venice, the Palazzo Municipale of Piacenza. But if the upper classes of Italy were far in advance of those of other countries in culture and intellect, they fell far behind them in morality and their conduct of life. Public and private morality alike were utterly dissociated from religion among the upper classes, from superstition among the lower, and had practically ceased to exist. Political assassination, which roused such horror and called for such long-winded defence in France, whence it was ultimately referred to the Council of Constance, was taken as a matter of course in Italy; if a man was in the way, it was only natural, if it were possible, to remove him by poison or the stiletto. Treachery was of common occurrence, both in public and in private life; loyalty was a plant of slow growth in Italian soil. Female honour was lightly esteemed in many nations, but nowhere more lightly than in Italy; rape was an ordinary incident of everyday life. The Italian nobility unhappily lacked two motives which were all-powerful in other nations, the point of honour and the fear of God. Chivalry had never struck root in Italy, and the chivalrous sense of honour was unknown. Nor did their men of thought turn to religion; art, scholarship, political science, and philosophy occupied their minds, but towards religious questions they evinced an intellectual apathy; they feared to sin against the law of culture more than against the law of Christ. It is not wonderful that under these conditions vice was rampant. It was as easy to sin in Italy as to put on your shoes or slippers in London. State officers maintained brothels; priests acted as panders and kept houses of bad repute. The courtesans of Venice were noted through Europe for their numbers, their beauty, their grace and accomplishments, their manifold arts of dalliance. The Italian required the fascination of the fancy to be added to the allurement of the senses; he endeavoured to spiritualize abominable vices. But while in all these points Italy was the shame of Europe, in other points she was its exemplar. The middle-classes believed before all things in money and in money-making. They were shrewd men of business; and the nobles did not disdain to take their part in commerce, navigation, and industry. The merchants of Venice and Genoa traded not only with the Levant, but also with South Germany and other parts of inland Europe. Ancona and Rimini on the eastern coast, Pisa and Amalfi on the western, were merchant ports of considerable importance. Milan and Florence were noted for their banking-houses; the Bardi, the Peruzzi, and others financed Edward the Third of England and the King of Sicily as the same houses had financed Charles of Anjou. The commercial integrity of the Italian bankers stood very high throughout Europe. It is unnecessary to do more than mention the industrial guilds of Florence, the silk- weavers of Lucca, the armourers of Milan, the workers in oil and in wool, and the like. The Italian cities had succeeded in doing what the German cities were striving hard to accomplish : they had won a right of independent self-development, but the right was marred by the despotisms and tyrannies under which they had in many instances fallen; it was also distinguished by the fact that the Italian cities had absorbed into their rule the surrounding country in a manner which the German Free States never attempted. The people had thus enjoyed centuries of wealth and civilization in great cities while the northern races had remained in a state of comparative poverty and barbarism. With respect to the lower classes, the dictum of a celebrated scholar may safely be accepted, that if the artists of Italy, “not few of whom were born in cottages and educated in workshops, could feel and think and fashion as they did, we cannot doubt that their mothers and their friends were pure and pious, and that the race which gave them to the world was not depraved. . . . Italian art alone suffices to prove”, says Symonds, “that the immorality of the age descended from the upper stratum of society downwards”. Italian soldiers and the lower classes generally were not so ignorant and gross as those of England; they were less cruel and inhuman than those of Spain ; they were not gluttons and drunkards as were those of Germany ; they took no delight in brawls and bloodshed as did the Switzers; they were more sober and courteous than the French.

In its political development also Italy differed from the rest of Europe. In the twelfth century the whole of Upper and Central Italy was split up into a number of little republics, somewhat resembling the cities of ancient Greece or the free states of Germany. The passion for self-development was everywhere the ruling motive. They were impatient of control by Pope or Emperor; they recognized that they formed part of the Holy Roman Empire, and they sought no other or closer bond of union. Each city desired to develop its own particular industry or commerce, to organize itself on its own social lines, to expand on its own political type; availing itself of its existing municipal machinery, it sought to secure independence and to place the government in the hands of its own citizens. But disturbing forces, factions within and wars without, entered and played havoc, until little by little each republic in turn became weaker, more confused in policy, more mistrustful of itself and its own citizens, more subdivided into petty but ineradicable factions, until at last it fell a prey either to some foreign potentate or to the Church, or else to an ambitious family among its members.

By the end of the fourteenth century the ruling powers in Italy had become reduced to five in number. The Republic of Genoa, through fear of the Visconti of Milan, had in 1396 surrendered its liberty to the King of France, and was no longer independent ; the French Constable Boucicaut was lord of Genoa and of the sea front from the Western Riviera round to Livorno (Leghorn). The Duke of Milan and the Republic of Venice divided between them the northern part of Italy; the Republic of Florence and the Papal States occupied the centre; the Kingdom of Naples formed the south of the peninsula.

Naples also had been and still was the scene of a disputed succession. Charles of Anjou had been called in by the Pope nearly a century and a half earlier (1262) to expel the Hohenstaufen; he had won for himself the kingdom of the Two Sicilies; but his oppression and cruelty had driven the Sicilians to revolt, and after the “Vespers” (1282) Sicily was lost and Naples alone remained to the House of Anjou. In the city of Naples itself, Frederic the Second, the grandson of Barbarossa, had built him a lordly palace, and here Charles of Anjou, and his son and grandson after him, reigned in undisputed succession. The grandson, Robert, left a grand­daughter, Joanna, who succeeded him. She married her second cousin, Andrew; but Andrew, not content with the position of a prince-consort, claimed the crown in his own right, on the ground that his grandfather, Charles Martel, had been the elder brother of his wife’s grandfather, Robert. This unfortunate claim cost Andrew his life; and Joanna married Louis of Tarentum, her father’s first cousin, who was suspected with Joanna herself of having murdered the luckless Andrew. Sixteen years later Louis died, and Joanna married again; and finally, in 1376, she married for the fourth time, but she had no children by any of her husbands. Her heir-presumptive was her second cousin, Charles of Durazzo; but the Papal Schism had now commenced, dividing Christendom, and often royal families, into two contending families. This had happened in the case of the Anjou family; the opposition of Pope Urban to Queen Joanna had caused an important change in Neapolitan politics. The Queen, when the Pope insulted her husband, went over to the French side; whereas Charles of Durazzo was an adherent of Urban. To spite Charles and to defeat his expectations, Joanna, on the 29th June 1380, made a will, whereby she adopted Louis, Duke of Anjou, brother of Charles the Fifth of France, as her heir in Italy, in Sicily, and in France. Clement the Seventh lost no time in confirming her donation. The King’s death prevented the Duke from starting at once to take possession of his new kingdom; he had first of all to rob France of the necessary funds for the enterprise. Pope Urban wrote to Louis of Hungary, urging him to punish Joanna for the murder of her former husband; the aged monarch passed the task on to his nephew, Charles of Durazzo. The adoption by Joanna, letting in the second house of Anjou, provided abundant trouble for Italy both in the near and in the distant future. Charles accepted his task with alacrity; he invaded Naples, defeated the Queen’s husband, captured Joanna herself—she was murdered shortly afterwards—and was crowned King of Naples in 1382, to the joy of the Neapolitans, who preferred their own country­man as Pope to the Butcher of Cesena. In the same year Duke Louis of Anjou, having provided himself with money and men, brought a formidable army to support his claim; but delay, disease, and starvation played havoc with his troops, and in 1384 the Duke himself died. Charles of Durazzo was now firmly established as King of Naples. Unfortunately he was offered the crown of Hungary; he went to that country, gained the crown, but was assassinated in June 1386. This left the claim to the crown of Naples to be fought out between two boys, Ladislas, the son of Charles, who was ten years old when his father died, and Louis the Second of Anjou, who was three years the junior of Ladislas. Louis was represented by his mother, Marie de Bretagne, who was unable to do anything for the time to advance her son's claim, which remained in abeyance.

The foregoing sketch of the state of Europe at the time of the Great Schism has shown that the predominant place throughout was taken by war. War, bloodshed, and rapine, violence and disorder, were the glaring evils of the time; all classes suffered, but the lowest suffered more terribly than others. Peace and quietude was what they coveted, but what they found it difficult to obtain. The clerical greeting, “Pax Vobiscum” whose full meaning we in this country find it difficult to realize, sounded a mockery to those poor souls, whose crops were pillaged, whose cattle were harried or maimed, whose houses were burned over their heads. War was the occupation and the sport of the knightly class; when real war was not to be had, they delighted in the mimic war of the joust and the tournament. But the knights formed only one class of the community.

Society in the Middle Ages was divided, roughly speaking, into four main divisions or classes. There were the knights and their retainers, who dwelt in castles and strongholds; there were the merchants and tradesmen, with their dependants, in the walled towns and cities; there were the agriculturists, with their labourers, who lived for the most part in wattled huts, clustered around the church in walled villages, or gathered together close under the protection of their lord, spiritual or temporal; and there were the clerks (clerici) or clergy, who dwelt partly in clergy-houses, monasteries, or other buildings, protected by their sanctity, and partly also in the larger cities and towns. To this rough classification there were many exceptions, such as the Jews, the lay lawyers, the sea-going folk, the wayfarers, and others; but for the population generally the division holds good. Men were born into the first three classes and took their places therein by right of birth. But with the clerks it was otherwise. A man was sometimes called a clerk because he was a scholar; but the clergy, properly speaking, were men who had received orders, minor or sacred. The minor orders1 were those conferred on acolytes, readers, door­keepers, and exorcists; the greater or sacred orders began with the sub-diaconate; and upon all those who had received them the rule of celibacy was, from the time of Gregory the Seventh, enforced. This rule was not of divine institution, it was a rule of the Church, and it was bitterly opposed at first; but long before the end of the fourteenth century it had ceased to be contested. The ranks of the clergy were therefore recruited by voluntary enlistment from the other three classes. Voluntary enlistment implies deliberate choice, generally of the volunteer, sometimes of his forebears; and a deliberate choice implies a certain amount of intelligence. For this reason, and because of their education and the demands which their duties cast upon them, the clergy formed everywhere the intelligent class in the State.

Among the population generally the grossest ignorance abounded; superstition trenched on idolatry; the time might almost be fitly called “the Devil's Reign”. Men of light and leading did things then which would be incomprehensible now. Popes and condottieri generals consulted the stars; magicians baptized their books in the lake at the foot of Mons Pilatus; the learned and reverend doctors of the University of Paris, when at their wits’ end, hesitated not to consult certain wise women, foolish simpletons who saw visions and dreamed dreams. But although there was much that was ignoble and debasing, there was much also of the childlike and picturesque, much that found great joy in the mystery plays and in that spirit of mimicry and imitation necessary for the education of an unlettered people, much that still lingers among the peasantry of Europe everywhere. In the early part of the century there had been a considerable amount of prosperity even among the peasantry. In France the agriculturists had been exceptionally numerous and exceptionally well off; they fared well and their farms were well stocked; the beggars had white bread given them, and the peasantry spread clean napery for their friends and ate their fowls larded. In Germany also, when there was no war in his vicinity, the peasant was well-to-do; he dressed respectably and had money in his pocket; he became the laughing­stock of his city compeers because of his bearing and his independence. In England a little later the beggars were no longer content with their former rations; they demanded bread of clean wheat and beer of the best and brownest; the landless labourer despised penny-ale or cabbage that was a night old, and asked for fresh meat and for fish freshly fried. And together with plenty of this rough comfort and coarse enjoyment there was among all classes, in those days when all the world was one religion, much good fellowship, much cheery intercourse and camaraderie. Men crossed and greeted one another at their daily avocations, they mingled in friendly rivalry in their sports and games, they prayed together in one church, they met in the evening at the alehouse; quite apart from guilds and fellowships, there reigned a spirit of goodwill and brotherhood. Rudolf of Habsburg would drink, mug in hand, to the burghers of Thuringia; Edward the Third would dance with the citizens1 wives at Guildhall; Saint Louis of France would dispense justice under an oak at Compiegne.

In the middle of the century came the Black Death, the most terrible scourge which has ever desolated humanity in historic times; it swept through nearly every part of Europe, and carried off here one-third, there one-half, in some places two-thirds of the inhabitants. The fearful depopulation went far to revolutionize society; the Black Death shook the bonds of custom and introduced the reign of contract. The shortness of labourers after the calamity gave to every workman, agricultural or other, a market value; and he soon learned no longer to be content with the old customary valuation placed on his services. There was everywhere a demand for labour, and he could leave his old home and get work at better wages elsewhere. In England wages doubled; they were everywhere in excess of the statute rate, but employers were willing to risk the liability and to go on paying: the labourers worked only eight hours a day; they throve under their guilds and trades-unions; the peasants began gradually to acquire land. Very different was the state of things in France. That country had sunk from the height of prosperity to the depth of misery. The Hundred Years’ War had begun, and in the intervals of the war the country suffered from the ravages of the Free Companies. The English and their allies among the Bretons and the Navarrese had committed frightful atrocities, but Frenchman and foreigner alike, clerk and layman, combined to pillage the unhappy land of France. The grandes compagnies were composed of miscreants of all nations, bands with the discipline of an army and the instinct of brigands, commanded by chiefs like Robert Knolles or Hugh Calverley, like Olivier de Clisson or Eustache d'Anberchicourt, or even by the priests like Jacques d'Aigregeuille, the curé of Mesvres, or the Archpriest Arnaud de Cervolles. These ruffians spared neither man, woman, nor child in their fury and lust; they burned and despoiled houses, sacred and profane : indeed, after the castles, the buildings most capable of fortification and defence were the cathedrals, churches, and abbeys, and these were therefore invariably the object of attack. King Charles the Fifth, by his wise economy and his policy of masterly inactivity, had done much to restore the credit of his country, but he could not recompense his peasantry for the sufferings they had endured. After the insurrection of the Jacques had been quelled, the country abode in comparative peace. In Germany also the Emperor Charles the Fourth did his best to keep the peace among the numberless heterogeneous elements of which the Empire was composed, and for the most part he succeeded. But everywhere through Western Europe toward the end of the fourteenth century a spirit of popular discontent had been rising among the people, and it gradually culminated in insurrections and outbreaks. In 1378 the “Ciompi” or wooden shoes, the proletariat of Florence, rose in a half-revolution, half-strike, to obtain reduction of taxes and better terms of employment: they burned the palaces of the nobles and introduced a reign of terror, during which the city was given over to outrage and pillage. In Flanders the “white bonnets”, the democratic party, rallied in Ghent around the bourgeois Philip van Artevelde; they marched victoriously against Bruges, but were mown down in their thousands by the French at Roosebeke (1382). In England the peasants throughout the eastern counties, from Norfolk round to Sussex, revolted, thousands of them marched on London, and demanded from their King the abolition of serfdom (1381). At Rouen the coppersmiths and others rose; they elected as their king a rich draper, a big man but poor of spirit; they opened the gaols, pillaged the houses of former mayors, tore up charters (1382). In the same year the Parisians rose against the tax-gatherers and the Jews; they seized twelve thousand leaden mallets from the Hotel de Ville, and for three days the Maillotins were masters of the city. In Auvergne the “Tuchins”, or dog-killers, appeared; they were recruited from the poorest of the poor, and nothing was safe from them. In Languedoc the peasants and the men of the faubourgs, reduced to the utmost misery by the war and taxation, rose in fury against the nobles and the priests, killing all who had not hard and horny hands like their own (1382). Something resembling an international feeling of sympathy among the working classes had sprung up; for the first time, says Henri Martin, the populace in the different nations of the West experienced the instinct of the identity of their cause, and an electric movement of sympathy ran from the banks of the Seine and the Scheldt to those of the Thames. In 1386 the Swiss peasants defeated Leopold of Habsburg in the disastrous battle of Sempach; and next year the war, simmering since 1379, broke out between the Swabian cities and the Dukes of Bavaria, and between the towns on the Rhine and the Count Palatine. Most sad were the results: for miles round the cities and fortresses the villages were utterly destroyed, and not a church nor a house remained standing. There was at this time, as Michelet has said, the profoundest trouble throughout Christendom; it seemed as if universal war were commencing between the low and the great.

It was in the middle of all this horror and misery that the Great Schism had begun. Its existence was universally admitted and universally deplored. It was everywhere felt to be necessary in the interest of Christendom to put an end to the disunion as speedily as possible. “Divine Providence”, Frederic Barbarossa had once said, “has specially appointed the Roman Empire to prevent the continuance of schism in the Church”. The Emperor, when he uttered this axiom, was undoubtedly the most powerful monarch in Europe. But when Charles the Fourth died there was no Emperor; the King of the Romans was a mere boy of sixteen. Charles had recognized Urban; he had commended his cause to his son; and all Europe expected, and the Pope at Rome most anxiously hoped, that Wenzel would forthwith proceed to Rome to be crowned Emperor, and that the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire would thus proclaim to all Christendom that Urban the Sixth was the rightful and legitimate Pope and that Clement was a usurper. But there were obstacles in the way. In 1381 indeed, Wenzel and King Louis of Hungary sent an embassy to Paris to endeavour to convert the French court to the Roman obedience; but the result was a foregone conclusion, as was that of the counter-embassy sent two years later from Paris to Prague. The journey to Rome was imperative in the interest of Urban. Difficulties in the Empire, negotiations with Hungary and Austria, the strife over the archbishopric of Mainz and over the Swabian League, occupied Wenzel in the earlier years of his reign ; and when in 1382 he announced his intention of making the journey to Rome, the death of Louis of Hungary and the consequent advancement of the claims of his half-brother Sigismund to the crowns of Hungary and Poland delayed the project for some years further. At this time in his reign Wenzel practically gave up his chance of wearing the golden crown in order to further the interests of Sigismund, and bitterly he was repaid for his sacrifice. The coronation of Wenzel and his acknowledg­ment of Urban were not to be. An Emperor was not thus to put an end to the Schism. Some other means must be sought.

From the very beginning the plan of a general council had been broached. Before the election of Clement, the Italian cardinals, with the assent of Urban, had proposed that the question of the validity of his election should be referred to a council; two of them repeated the suggestion afterward at Nice. The Florentines, when the Duke of Anjou tried to win them to Clement, replied that they had already recognized Urban as their Pope, and that they must stand by their decision until a general council decided that they were wrong. King John of Castile, in his letter of the 20th September 1379; advised Charles the Fifth of France to refer the matter to a general council, this being the plan, he said, which all Christendom approved. The most eloquent and persuasive advocate at this time of a general council was undoubtedly Henry of Langenstein, the vice-chancellor of the University of Paris, who (1381) held that God had in His mercy permitted the Schism in order to bring about the much needed reform in the Church, for which a general council was necessary. He was the first to urge that the divine right of the Pope must itself be subordinate to the welfare of the Church; his teaching fashioned the thoughts of Jean Gerson, who when Pierre d'Ailly was promoted to a bishopric, succeeded to the chancellorship of the University in 1390. King Charles the Fifth was himself in correspondence with the warmest adherents of the scheme of a council; but despite the embassy of the Duke of Luxemburg, despite the arguments of Henry of Langenstein and Conrad of Gelnhausen, the King of France died with the assertion on his lips that he still believed Clement the Seventh to be the true shepherd of the Church, although he so far wavered as to admit that he would have obeyed the finding of a general council had it gone against him.

But the chief argument against a council was that neither Urban nor Clement nor the cardinals would hear of it. There were indeed almost insuperable difficulties in the way of its adoption at that time. There was the difficulty as to the place of convocation amid the wars and jarring interests of Europe. There was the difficulty as to the mode of convocation : it was the duty of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire to convoke a council, but Wenzel had not yet received the golden crown; and if a council could not meet without the consent of the Pope, then both Popes and cardinals refused to act. There was the further difficulty of enforcing the decrees of the council when they had been made. The project was, at the commencement of the Great Schism, repeatedly made; it was as often, because of the manifest difficulty and dilatoriness attending its execution, deliberately discarded. The plan was especially favoured by the Universities of Paris, Oxford, and Prague; and the year after the death of King Charles the Fifth, the University of Paris returned to their scheme. Pierre d'Ailly received a respectful hearing, but when Jean Rousse, a Doctor of Abbeville, was commissioned by the University to lay the matter formally before the royal council, the Duke of Anjou, who had welcomed the election of Clement far more heartily than his brother, and who looked to the new Pope to finance him in his design on the crown of Naples, not only did not allow the orator to speak, but sent armed men by night to seize him in his bed, and consigned the Doctor to the blackest cachot of the Chatelet. For several years the University was reduced to ignominious silence. The way of fact, the expulsion of the opponent by brute force, was at this time the only solution of the difficulty which found favour at any court of Europe.

On Christian Europe the Schism produced its natural result. Scholars began to doubt and inquire; divisions of opinion and heresy speedily appeared. The spirit of scepticism as to the Pope’s authority and infallibility had indeed appeared in Germany in the days of Louis of Bavaria, when Pope John the Twenty-second, in his quarrel with the King, had laid the land under interdict and had introduced strife into many bishoprics, when he had fallen foul of the Franciscans because of their doctrine of the poverty of Christ and had himself come under suspicion because of his theory of the Beatific Vision, when the sect of the Free Thinkers gained ground and the Mystics taught personal communion with God—all these things turned men’s eyes toward the shortcomings of the Church and opened their minds to inquiry and scepticism. The critical spirit dated from the days of the Babylonish Captivity at Avignon. Michael of Cesena had taught that the Pope may err, but that a Council of the Universal Church cannot err. William of Ockham believed that the Pope may err, that a general council may also fall into error, and that infallibility is to be found only in the Scriptures and the beliefs of the Universal Church. Marsiglio of Padua had published the Defensor Pacis, a work which in many points might be accepted almost without reserve by a Protestant today : its teaching was, as has been already shown, that the domains of the spiritual and civil powers were separate, that the former had no coercive jurisdiction, that the Catholic Faith rests on Holy Scripture alone, that when doubts arise as to the meaning of the sacred Word, these can only be settled by a general council of the faithful, on which clergy and laity alike have seats. The Schism profoundly shocked John Wycliffe; he saw each rival Pope fulminating excommunications against the other; and he speedily came to the conclusion that the Papacy itself was the great evil, that it was the poison of the Church. Like the Spiritual successors of Francis of Assisi, he believed in the absolute poverty of the clergy; he believed also in dominion founded on grace. These were doctrines which, carried to their logical conclusions, might have important political bearings; his opposition to the Church was most clearly evinced by his theory as to transubstantiation; he denied the orthodox doctrine, he refused to believe that a priest could by a daily miracle transform the wafer and wine into flesh and blood. Wycliffe thus became a heretic, and a dangerous heretic. But heresy, if not engendered, had been fostered and increased by the Schism. As a German historian has put it, the Captivity at Avignon, followed by the Schism, brought on the Reformation. Furthermore, it was the Schism which discredited the papal dignity and tended to destroy all reverence for the supreme head of the Church. In England it strengthened immensely the reforming movement, and made entire distrust, defiance even, of a Pope seem not merely a patriotic but a religious duty. Christ’s vineyard in England had been beautiful and fruitful, sang an old Latin poet, but now the Lord’s vineyard was laid waste; “O now, plague-stricken land, that didst team with all sound learning free from the taint of heresy, stranger to all error, exempt from all deception : now thou rankest as the chief in all schism, discord, madness”. Wycliffe had sown the seed; the fruit soon appeared. Oxford, London, Leicester, and Bristol became centres of Wycliffite influence. Nicholas of Hereford, Philip Repyngdon, and John Aston were summoned before the archbishop to answer for their advocacy of the new doctrines. A few years later several fellows were expelled from Queen’s College, Oxford, because of their sympathy with the teaching of the reformer. Even at court the gentle Queen Anne, elder sister of Sigismund, was not unfriendly to the new teaching; she encouraged the use of the open Bible. The Bohemian scholars who followed her to the English Court took back with them afterwards to their native land the books and teaching of John Wycliffe.

Far more important to the Popes than any such downright heresy, which could be met with and fought outright, was the anti-papal, almost latitudinarian, spirit which had taken possession of that stronghold of orthodoxy, the University of Paris. The sight of two Popes in Christendom raised the question whether the Pope was after all the real head of the Church, whether the real head was not Christ; if the Pope was merely His earthly representative, might there not be two or three, or ten or twelve Popes, an independent Pope for every different country, with its own independent Church? Such speculations indulged in by theologians were fatal to an undivided papal supremacy, but luckily they found no response in the civil powers. In the University of Paris itself, however, they were rife, and she was the acknowledged champion of the faith, to whose dictates kings, and even Popes, were wont to defer. For the University of Paris was the first seminary of theology in Europe, she was a cosmopolitan institution, with scholars from all countries, speaking the cosmopolitan tongue, Latin; and at this time she, the venerated mother of Saint Thomas Aquinas and of William of Ockham, had in her midst a crowd of eminent theologians. There was Henry of Hesse of Langenstein, the great advocate of the scheme for a general council, who left Paris in 1382; there was Matthias of Janow, who was later Prebendary of Prague ; there was Pierre Plaoul, who was sent on an embassy to Germany; there was the celebrated Pierre d'Ailly, who regarded the person of neither Pope, who was also an advocate for a general council, but who, in his advocacy thereof, bided his time, waiting until 1407 for a favourable opportunity; there were the three noted disciples of Pierre d'Ailly, Gilles des Champs, the sovereign Doctor of Theology, Jean Charlier de Gerson, the Christlike teacher, and Nicholas de Clamanges, the Cicero of his time. These were men who would exert a profound influence on the progress of negotiations during the Schism; and it is important, therefore, to grasp the nature of their thoughts and predilections. Perhaps the most noteworthy phase was the revolt in the bosom of the University itself of the despised and neglected theologians against the canon and the civil law. This revolt was necessarily anti-papal, for the Popes were almost invariably lawyers, doctors of the canon or of both civil and canon law, with a lawyer's liking for the clear-cut intelligible wording of the decretals, with a lawyer's dislike for the subtle meta­physical distinctions of the mediaeval scholastic theology. Moreover, Clement the Seventh, when he became Pope at Avignon, took no thought for the Church but to suck the marrow from her bones, and troubled not at all about the professors at Paris. It is small wonder, then, that an anti- papal spirit grew among them. Its position as the champion of orthodoxy gave the University prominence, and lent to the teaching of its professors an importance and a weight which did not attach to those of Wycliffe or of Hus. Hence arose during the continuance of the Schism the preponderating influence of men such as D'Ailly and Gerson, whose views it is important to understand. The theology of D'Ailly may serve as an example.

Born in 1350, the son of humble but honest parents, Colard and Petronilla, a patriotic Frenchman all his life through, Pierre d'Ailly went to the College of Navarre at the University of Paris; when he was twenty-two years of age, he was chosen proctor for the French Nation at the University, and took his degree as Doctor in 1380. It was then that he published his theological tractate on the Church. He was a middle man, standing cautiously between the two parties; he had imbibed the teaching of Pierre Dubois and John of Paris, of Marsiglio of Padua and William of Ockham; but he saw that the Church had not been utterly overthrown by Philip the Fair, and his liberalism was moderated. Above all, he was a Frenchman and a Gallican, a Gallican before the time of Bossuet, a Gallican before the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges. He was too conservative to belong to the party directly opposed to the Church, and too close a follower of the new philosophy to belong to the orthodox. In philosophy he was a nominalist, and nominalism had the advantage of drawing a sharp line between matters of the faith and of the intellect, of confining the reason to the things of which consciousness was taken, mediately or immediately, through the senses and the intellect, and of relegating the higher truths of religion to a supernatural mysticism. But through it all D'Ailly was essentially anti-papal. The Church, in his view, was built on Faith, Hope, and Charity. Faith, inspired faith, infusa fides, was the evidence of things not seen, the intellectual assent to the catholic verities; it provided the set stones of the building, of which Hope raised the unsurmountable walls, and to which the Love of God and one’s neighbour formed the all-embracing roof: the truly spiritual were the inner walls, the preachers and teachers were the windows of the building, the portals were the truth of God’s word, and the pillars were the men of action, the shepherds and leaders. Thus was Holy Church an organized whole, the fellowship of Christians based on Holy Writ, perfect but not yet perfected, for believers are still united with Christ in building up the House of God. There is no mention of the Pope here; it is the Church which is all-important; she is the Holy Mother who reconciles men with God; her priests administer the sacraments which build up inspired faith; and when the sinner through fear dare not betake himself directly to Christ, he turns trustfully to the arms of the merciful mediator, the Church. D'Ailly set a high value on the written word of the Bible, he was energetic in favour of a correct translation of the original; but he did not accept the written word as his criterion, he regarded it as merely a sign or symbol of the true law, and as a nominalist he looked through the word to find the underlying idea; he found his touchstone in inspired faith, backed by conclusive argument. “The law of Christ”, he says, “may be most properly defined as inspired faith, or its action, by which rational man assents to the truths of Christian doctrine”; the law may indeed be enunciated in words, but it may also be known inwardly as the knowledge of good and evil. Holy Church he takes to be the community of believers; its foundations are the words and promises of Christ, who is the true Head of the Church. The Church is not founded on timid, frightened Peter, but on Christ; “for other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus”. There are pillars of the Church of the second order, among which is Peter, the rock on which Christ built His Church, so that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. But Peter obtained thereby no pre-eminence, seeing that all believers rest equally on Christ's words; nor was the promise that his faith should not fail made to him personally, but to the Church committed to him. So, too, Christ’s promise to His disciples to be with them to the end of the world is a promise made to the Church of faith for believers. D'Ailly did not believe in Saint Thomas Aquinas’s doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope, any more than did Saint Bernard of Clairvaux or the Electors at Rense, or John the Twenty-second when he claimed to correct the errors of his predecessors. He pointed out how the Decretal of Gratian had been corrected by Gregory the Ninth on the ground that some of the contents were superfluous and others contradictory, and how Boniface had made further additions, bolstering up some parts and cutting down others; he urged that the Canon Law was not necessary to the Church’s existence, for it had been said long before decretals were known that Christ was the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. In his view as to a general council D'Ailly resembled William of Ockham; he avoided the recognition of its infallibility even in matters of faith; he thought it possible that such a council might err, and that the knowledge of the truth might be restricted to a few poor simple souls, as at the time of the Crucifixion it had been restricted to the Virgin Mary. In practice, however, D'Ailly was not troubled by these subtle distinctions; he was ready to refer the termination of the Schism to a select committee chosen from both obediences—an impracticable scheme which he soon abandoned. He was clear above all things on the two points that neither the Church at Rome nor the Pope was essential to salvation. Frenchmen who had embraced the cause of Clement were unanimous on the former point; and as to the latter, D'Ailly, while admitting that a human body without a head is dead, contended that the Church was the mystical body of Christ, and that even without an earthly head She would remain alive through faith and grace, seeing that She had a high priest in heaven, even Christ, who was head over all things to the Church. There is much that is mystical in the reasoning, there is much that is apparently capricious in the way in which a text is taken now literally and now anagogically, but the trend of the theology of D'Ailly and also of Jean Gerson was distinctly anti-papal.