Ministry.Middle Ages

  Ministry in Historical Perspective
Part I. The Middle Ages

James A. Glasscock
A lecture prepared by use by the students of the Reformation Seminar
Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany

This presentation is the first of two parts and is a limited survey of the changing concepts of Christian ministry from the Patristic period to about 1500.
Part II will be devoted to the Continental Reformation of the 16th century and include England and Scotland.
These sweeping historical perspectives, I hope, will enable readers and students to grasp the continuity of the story, of course, but also to appreciate the often subtle and often unintended influences and consequences of great and small actions that accumulate over time. The unintended influences and consequences reshaped and reconfigured the ministry of the Christian Church in the West during the almost 900 years of the Middle Ages.
The accumulation of decisions change the shape of the Church's ministry through the centuries, influence her worship, shape her liturgy, redirect the Christian purposes of ordinary men and women, reconstitute the work of cure of souls and determine the content of her preaching.
For purposes of organization and clarification, therefore, I have organized our material into three discrete sections. But also I have unashamedly let the materials freely move about in a conversation between and among the centuries and ages under review. I think we can keep the players straight, though.
First, our survey begins with a brief overview from the Age of the Church Fathers, specifically St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine.
Second, attention is drawn to the Middle Ages (600-1500 AD), which prepares the ground for the Reformation of the 16th Century. This section covers 900 years, is developed in greater depth than the Patristic materials and prepares one to place the Reformation in a board context. Some might argue that the Reformation was an inevitable necessity in the return of Christendom to her roots.
Third, in Part II, a study of the Continental Reformation (1500-1600) absorbs most of our attention but the Reformation in England and Scotland cannot and will not be slighted.
The scope of our work will, of necessity, touch on far more than the office of the minister. The office of minister or priest or pastor requires or inherently creates the expectation that the office-holder performs or undertake a range of duties, obligations and responsibilities consistent and as a result of being ordained to the pastoral office.
These duties, obligations and responsibilities may pertain to worship and liturgy or church organization and, ultimately, the role of the parish priest or minister in society. But, collectively, the duties, obligations and responsibilities become the core model of what the minister (1) should be as well as (2) what the minister should do or (3) what the minister should be about in the conduct of the office.
During the course of this presentation, the reader or listener will observe that the office of minister develops and developed, adapts and adapted according to the demands and needs of the age and under strange, particular, unexpected, unwanted and sometimes peculiar circumstances.
In this winnowing process, seeking to separate the wheat of Christian faith from the chaff of worldly power and prestige, The Way becomes reduced to Christendom quite early, creating a hazardous enterprise to the faith of early Christianity and the practice of authentic holiness and piety in every age.
Seen in a larger context and to a large extent, the evangelical developments in ministry and associated topics, occasioned by the appearance of the Reformation of the 16th century, served as a correction to the excesses that had crept into the Roman Catholicism and its ministry. Our story, then, begins in the Patristic period.

I. The Ministry in the Middle Ages and Its Patristic Roots.

Changes in the office of minister toward the end of the late Patristic period are accurately portrayed in the John Chrysostom's essay, "On the Priesthood."
"On the Priesthood" represents a major shift in the thought of the time. John Chrysostom (c. 347-407) defends the monastic life as easier to perform than to "assume the onerous tasks of a parish minister" (82).
In Book IV of "On the Priesthood," Chrysostom explains that "those who allow themselves to be forced into the clerical office, no less than they who enter upon it from ambitious motives, are sorely punished hereafter for their sin." Parish ministry is tough!
Explaining his reasoning for accentuating the role of the parish minister, Chrysostom recalls the stories of Eli and Moses and their problems with rebellious sons and a rebellious people, respectively.
Chrysostom argues, quite simply, the life of the monk is safer, easier and comparably free from concerns of this world than rigors encountered in the world of the cleric, who lives in a parish and among people.
In the Patristic age, most notably in the third or fourth century, the monk, either living the emetic or cenobite life, was believed to be the most rugged form of Christian devotion and life. Chrysostom's essay appears to challenge that notion, indicating a shift is advance in which the parish minister now faces a future in which the tests of the desert will be less a challenge than the tests of the parish.
But, suggesting the in values, St. John Chrysostom's argues, "the priesthood had come to be regarded as more arduous [of the two] and monasticism was defended as the safest way to heaven, for [there] one might not rise too high, neither fall so low" (82) as in parish Church.
In a sense, the monastic life was a quiet ground on which to climb a ladder to heaven. The priest, attempting to climb the ladder to heaven, was actually climbing a rickety religious scaffold and could lose his footing or perhaps his soul on part of the perilous climb.
In the late 3rd or early 4th century, one may rightly conclude Chrysostom sees the office of the minister as the more arduous and hazardous journey of faith when compared to the monastic life. If so, it seems his observation of the difference between the parish priest and the monk fits the conditions one encounters in another important and representative figure of the age, St. Augustine.
St. Augustine (354-430), of Hippo in North Africa, was an outstanding preacher, able administrator (bishop), a pastoral counselor of note and a seminal theologian who, in the future, would, along with the Apostle Paul, influence the course of the Reformation of the 16th century. Like the Apostle Paul, Augustine knew the trials of serving Churches and troubled congregations.
Peter Brown writes in Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, the congregation that Augustine served in a small African town of the fourth century could "be narrow, puritanical" and tightly knit in which the mother played a dominant role.

Brown observes that

the congregations who heard Augustine preach were not exceptionally sinful. Rather, they were firmed rooted in long-established attitude, in the way of life and ideas, to which Christianity was peripheral. Among such men, the all-demanding message of Augustine merely suffered the fate of a river flowing into a complex system of irrigation: it lost its power, in the minds of its hearers, by meeting innumerable little ditches, by being broken up into a network of neat little compartments.

Brown contends that in this period, also, the religious imagination of Augustine's hearers was rigidly compartmentalized. That is, there were two spheres, two worlds in which they lived. The two worlds were -- and-- are this world and the next.
Each of the two worlds had a ruler, and while the Creeds might affirm "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth," the worshipers held that a different ruler governed this world.
Augustine did not have to contend with some pagan gods, as those who were thought to reside on sacred mountains, Mt. Olympus in Ancient Greece or the sacred precincts of Rome, but other gods that were less entrenched.
Rather than worship strange deities or idols, Augustine's hearers were captive to "faceless" powers, the daily concerns of a man. The daily concerns of a man included "his illnesses, his anxieties, his ambitions, his acute sense of the object of malign influences -- a supreme God, whom pagan and Christian philosophers alike had conspired to make too grandiose and too remote from the humble business of living at peace in this world."

Furthermore, Brown contends,

Augustine found himself checkmated by this split in the imagination of his hearers. Christianity, they had been told, was otherworldly. They would keep it so. Christ was eminently suitable as a god of the next world: He was to be worshipped for eternal life; His rites and emblems -- baptism and the sign of the Cross -- would be infallible pass-words to open the next world to the believer. But this world had to be controlled by traditional and well-tried means: by astrologers, by soothsayers and by amulets.

Chrysosthom's and Brown's observations (about the tasks of ministry facing St. Augustine) regarding the challenges facing a minister in the late Patristic period are invaluable for our task as one anticipates the Reformation of the 16th century.
Unfortunately and reluctantly and belatedly, I acknowledge the same frustrations and challenges continually are at work in the conduct and performance of ministry in almost every period we study, and this is true of the 21st century, too.
This unanticipated course of action should not be surprising if one remembers the chaotic career of St. Paul of the New Testament. And based on 40-years' experience in the parish ministry, the issues we encounter seem so strangely relevant and so fresh and so frustrating. But it has always been that way because we live east of Eden.
Life for people, living in the age of early Church -- an age of anxiety at Dodd's calls it -- through the Patristic period and extending throughout most of the Middle Ages and at the time of the 16th century Reformation, was often harsh, rigorous and uncompromising.
Added to the uncompromising demands to keep body and soul together, whether monk, priest, parish minister, pastor or lay member, or whatever role one held in society, Martin Luther's Ein feste Berg speaks of "a world with devils filled." The Devil intruded and invaded every sphere of life of clergy and lay, and the demoniac was equally alive in the desert with the fathers and with the people who live in the Patristic period, the Middle Ages, the age of the Reformation and in our time, too.
Threats were perceived everywhere: some were divine, some were earthly. What were his indispensable functions? Desert monks wrestled with demons and devils. Some monks confessed that if they thought they could escape the demons of sexual lust by living in the desert. But they soon learned the great temptations, including lust, were merely heightened and greatly enhanced in the solitude and loneliness of the desert wastes of North Africa, the Holy Land and elsewhere. There was simply no escape from being a fallen human being, an ancestor of Adam or Eve, or living East of Eden.
For reasons that will become clear later in this presentation, the life of a solitary monk gave rise to monastic communities that dotted the landscape of Europe. In the process of change in the early 3rd century, the office of monk or priest was transformed as new duties called forth-new responsibilities, some of which we thrust on the clergy from necessity.

II. Functions of the Priest and the Influence of the Environment in which he lived.

If the monk had a code or a rule for living, so did priests of local parishes. Property becomes an issue that requires rules, too. And though property was held in the name of the bishop , that is, a corporation, priests "should not meddle in business and if they did, they were shunned" (83). Apparently, the rule of shunning a brother became a necessity because of temptation to spend too much time with property or goods. And the Church will quickly become very wealthy with land, serfs, and animals.
Thus, a priest was not expected to be a merchant or a magistrate or a military warrior. And, of course, exceptions were made but rarely so. But that too will change.
Meanwhile, the monk, to demonstrate the difference between the monk and parish priest, moved toward scholarship and cloistered monastic life, which will play a major role in the preservation and transmission of culture. The cultural artifacts, including manuscripts and arts of several kinds, become precious tools for learning and become the basis for recovery of learning after the so-called Dark Ages of Europe begins to draw to a close. So how and why did this later stage occur?
First of all, the monk who had received high praise by Chrysostrom acquired new duties, enlarged obligations and a score of new functions. In St. Jerome of Bible translation fame and a monk himself, the worlds of scholarship and monasticism combined naturally.
The of the Benedictine Order, founded by St. Benedict of Nursia (c. 480-c.550), surfaced in a niche of time, as the world was in convulsion or soon to be. The monastic movement was in position to salvage human beings, preserve and cultivate learning. Meanwhile, other issues confronted the Church and, in the process, reshaped her ministry. In the absence of the authority of the state, the Church stepped into the breach.
Clearly, the known world was in flux and into that void the Church stepped perhaps not with confidence, but resolutely with a sense of administration provided by leadership of Pope Gregory I (590-604). Pope Gregory the Great is remembered for his ability as an administrator or CEO, who developed a business plan for administering the Church's vast holdings, the ones the Lombards let remain in the hands of the Church.
Suddenly the Pope becomes the quartermaster of his domain, supplying lumber and lead, and supplying the inhabitants of Rome with grain, and supporting a great concourse of nuns who, too, are refugees to the Eternal City. In order to manage this vast estate in the hands of the Church required development of a bureaucracy and a hierarchy of managers.
Bainton writes that reading the correspondence of Augustine and the correspondence of Gregory is striking in the contrasts. The latter reads like a business administrator or a dean of a university, for every letter from the pen of Gregory renders a decision. On the other hand, the correspondence of Augustine deals with the cure of souls. A major shift in the emphasis of the ministry surfaces.
Earlier, the development of monastic life was in keeping with the spirit of the time -- when the world was thought to be falling apart long before it did. And, of course, safety in a time of turmoil was thought to be found in the desert and away from the great cities with their cesspools of corruption! -- and this retreat to the desert naturally drew men and women to communities or to the solitary life.
With the sacking of Rome in 453 AD, streams of high-born Roman matrons embraced the monastic life, dedicating themselves to ministering in hospital to sufferers of the most loathsome diseases (84). Consequently, with a dependable supply of monks and nuns, the monastic cell, once a place of desert solitude, now became expanded to "encompass the study, the hostel, and the hospital" (84).
It was during this time and earlier during the decline of Rome that the Church throughout the crumbling Empire acquired enlarged functions, based on a high degree of universality and centralization, which became the model for the high Middle Ages, Bainton suggests.
Suddenly, as it were, the Bishop of Rome, the successor to Peter and Paul, was deemed by the middle of the fourth century to become the perpetual successor to Peter, the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church. The apostle Peter was no longer simply leader of the disciples but was the first bishop of Rome or the Holy Father of the Roman Catholic Church.
Each papal successor after the middle of the fourth century "wielded the power of the keys," a concept that surfaces in the discussion on forgiveness, confession, repentance, penance and the issues of pastoral care in the 16th century.
As a result of the barbarian invasions in the West, the traditional functions of the priest continued, of course, but once forbidden tasks now fell into his lap, as if by default. The default occurred when there was no one to fill the gap between state administration, however so humble the task, and the priest's relentless spiritual duties, functions and obligations.
It was at this point that the lines between laity and clergy diverge precipitously and accentuate. The laity assumed a larger role in founding, supplying, and reforming of churches. The monks extended their functions when they became priests.
Meanwhile, the priests became celibate and thus the regular and secular clergy were less to be distinguished. The term "regular" was applied to the monastic because they followed a regula or rule. The term "secular" applied to parish clergy because they served in saceculo, in the world. The word "secular" had not acquired the connotation of secular in the sense of worldly as we have come to think of it.
The invasion of barbarians altered the social structure and effectively destroyed public order. Goods and life were menaced. The Norsemen continued their major thrusts; the Danes in the West and the Magyars in the East conquered lands and established barbarian kingdoms, and proceeded to wage war against each other, that is, baron fought baron for territory.
These disorders, as Bainton calls them, demanded the building of some walled promontory. The irruption of Islam in the sixth century commenced and made the Mediterranean an Islamic sea.
Commerce declined with the result of a return to an agriculture economy with a system of exchange and barter rather that in coin (85).
In Gaul and later in Northern Germany, secular clergy soon became endowed with large estates, that is, as much as one-third to one-half of the kingdom. Rulers like Charles Martel (c. 690-741) frequently expropriated lands he conquered and passed along the spoils as donations to the bishop. Bishops became obscenely wealthy, and the bishop waved away any conflict of interest between the kingdom of good and wealth and the kingdom of gospel and poverty with the claims that he was acting for the Church. Interestingly enough, large blocks of time were needed to oversee and manage the Church's growing property acquisitions.
Into such a world, a world of change, the Benedictine order that had begun as a regime of manual labor for each of the brothers now acquired lands, too, and the serfs now worked for the monks.
The monks, to their credit, did not thrown them off the newly acquired lands, but this shift in the social structure of the early Middle Ages will portend grave consequences for the monk and his ministry in the future.
Now, the monk might become a squire, or if so inclined, the monk might become a scholar with a white hand, indicating no manual labor was part of his monastic vocation any longer, but the monastic vocation had become an exercise of the mind and perhaps enriching and refreshing the soul.
Furthermore, it was during the high Middle Ages, when the new monastic orders "produced wine, wool and grain beyond their needs" and began to dispose of the surplus in the trade channels that opened. The monks outfitted convoys on the roads and organized flotillas of goods on the rivers. Altogether they were the most enterprising businessmen of their day (87).
It was at this time also that the functions of government slowly became the functions of the Church.
Bainton explains,

If Roman citizens were captured by barbarians who had gold if not the bishop of Rome? And if he thus dealt with the barbarians, how inevitable that he should make arrangements and [sign] treaties with their rulers? Little wonder that Pippin, the king of the Franks in 754, recognized the actual conditions when he conferred upon the pope the keys to ten cities that over them he might exercise civil rule. This date is commonly taken to mark the beginning of the estates of the Church over which the people was temporal lord until 1870. His authority was restored in 1929 over the diminished area of Vatican City.

In the north, churchmen likewise assumed the functions of government. Since the clergy were the only literate class available, the kings of the Franks drafted them as civil servants. As civil servants, clergy soon began to function in a combined role, namely, a high ecclesiastic and a prime minister or chancellor of the realm. Bainton mentions King Henry II was simply amazed that his favorite Thomas a Becket refused to conform to the king's wishes.
bishops and abbots became rulers in their own domains when the feudal system became established and taxes, military levies, and the administration of justice devolved on the holders of the land. So long as the churchmen held vast estates they could not escape obedience and service to their overlords and protection of their underlings. They had become prince-bishops and prince-abbots.

About the year 1000 AD, deflection from the Christian ideal become endemic throughout Christendom, as the Church, through its ecclesiastical leadership, now engaged in warfare.
In the days of invasion, which happened during this frightful period, abbots removed their cassocks and donned armor to repel raiders and barbarians.
Monasteries were circled with walls. Sometimes nuns entered the fray, and in the conflict of baron with baron the churchmen behaved like his neighbor.
Illustration of this is found in the action of King Henry II in Germany. A robber baron so devastated the archdiocese of Treves that the archbishop fled. The Emperor selected a hardfisted noble, raced him through the grades of the Church's hierarchy until he became the "new" archbishop of Treves. The newly minted archbishop promptly distributed the goods of the Church to the knights who formed a standing army and repulsed the marauder.
This illustration is not unique, because the aversion of monasticism to war collapsed, Bainton notes, with the founding of the Hospitaliers, Knights of St. John, and the Templers with the enthusiastic blessing of Saint Bernard (1090-1153), Abbot of Clairvaux.
Why did war replace the holiness sought by the monastic orders? Bainton writes, it was seen as the will of God.
The Church was fired with zeal to Christianize every fabric of society and to accomplish this end first of all by emancipating and purifying the Church herself.

The Gregorian reformers were deeply aware of all of the corruptions inherent in the very processes of Christianization. The Church had to be of people in order to win the people and in so doing all to readily became like the people. The warring of bishops and abbots was understandable enough in a disorderly society and might be condoned as self-defense. Yet all too often it became predatory. The immense episcopal baronies had originated innocently out of the very necessities of the situation. Then they had become so lucrative as to temp the avaricious and the ambitious. The manning of churches by lay patrons, at first a boon, had become a bane, when though their power of lay investiture they consecrated superfluous sons in order to enlarge their domains. The centralizing of political authority in the hands of the emperor was stabilizing but if to this end he determined episcopal appointments his eye might be less directed to saintliness than to amenability. The marriage of clergy was supported by the sanction of eminent churchmen such as St. Ambrose but introduced the possibility of a hereditary episcopacy.
To cure all of these ills two drastic reforms were launched. The one aimed at the independence, the other at the purity of the church. The clergy were to be emancipated from lay control. They were not to be subject to the civil courts. The Church should administer justice for churchmen. The tonsured were to be exempt from lay authority, and even though guilt of theft, rape, and murder should enjoy the benefit of clergy. The practice of assigning all ecclesiastics to the bishop's court is discernible in England only after the conquest and was a result of the Gregorian reform. Popular sentiment supported this exemption because the secular courts were so severe. On a single gallows one might see twenty men hanging for trivial offenses. The bishop could not impose the death penalty. He might adjudge the accused guilty and turn him over for punishment to the civil power. Commonly, however, he extracted only purgation. He might condemn the culprit to an ecclesiastical prison, but still, there would be no taking of life.

If the clergy had been willing to surrender the considerable land holdings, which amounted to one-half of the land, the Church would have been free from lay interference completely but, unfortunately, the Church lands had been donated in strips and patches. A king might enjoy a title but his kingdom was an unmanageable domain. While the Church might be free from lay interference, the Church was not entirely independent. The Church have been, of course, if the Church had been willing to renounce its considerable endowments of land and property. The Church was not willing to trust her future to temperamental sovereigns and petty kings. He who owns the gold makes the rules!
But the Church had a unique problem. If bishops were not to be appointed by lay patrons nor swear allegiance to rulers and the Crown, by whom then were they appointed, inducted and invested with the office of bishop?
The Church's unique problem was solved with the introduction of the College of Cardinals. This new ecclesiastical organization had been urged in the 9th century when the clergy of France, who desired a central organization of Church government and the enhancement of the papacy as a defense against kings and the high-mindedness of overlords, lay and clerical, presented a Decretal.
Not until the 11th century, however, was the idea implemented, and the Cardinals established with the function of choosing popes quite independently of lay directives, so Bainton writes.
By this time, the Church hierarchy is not only elaborated but also levels or graduations of clergy are accentuated. It was at this time also that the altar was moved to the rear of the apse, so that the bishop, who presided, no longer stood behind the communion table or altar but took his place with the other clergy in the choir stall. Though he retained a throne, reminding one that he was essentially a king within an ecclesiastical kingdom, his diocese, he was now seated with the other clergy.
The bishop being seated with the clergy also heightened the distinction between the clergy and the laity. This was done, in part, with gestures, that is, two postures at communion. The bishop or priest stood; the people kneeled. And there came to be two positions. The priest at the altar or communion table; and the people behind the altar rail. Only the priest partook of both elements, the bread and wine. The laity had access only to the bread.
The imposition of celibacy did not occur until nearly 1000 AD. The Bishop of Mans, for example, married and his wife's name was Episcopissa. In 966, Rutherius , a bishop, declared that

all clergy in his area were married and some of them more than once. If the decree prohibiting repeated marriages were enforced only boys would be left in the Church. He endeavored to institute a reform but was driven to seek the sanctuary of an abbey. At the same time, for centuries an incompatibility had been sensed between sexual relations and ministry at the altar and the married priest was enjoined to abstain during the period of his ministrations.

The Gregorian reform, partly for practical reasons to break up the system of hereditary bishoprics and partly for ascetic reasons because virginity was rated higher than marriage, undertook to make the reform universal. Opposition was intense but the rule became canon law.
While celibacy was being enforced for reasons of the superiority of virginity and practically to break-up hereditary bishoprics, clergy adopted special dress to demark them as a special class. The purpose of the dress was to enhance their prestige and standing in the community and to guard their morals by setting them apart. Some complaint was registered, however, "of those clad in scarlet, wearing rings, 'with short tunics, ornamentally trimmed, with knives and basilards hanging from their girdles. The rules prescribed that the head must be tonsured, the beard closely trimming, sleeves must be short, coats long, and colors somber.'" While no specific uniform was mandated as street attire, the most distinguishing characteristic of clergy was the tonsure.
It may surprise modern readers that the civil authorities registered the strongest objections to one of these reforms. On the one hand, civil authorities were not too concerned with dress, unmarried clergy, though some loss of revenue was noted. On the other hand, the strongest objection of the civil authorities was the abolition of lay investiture.
Plainly stated, the objection was: "How can the king be sovereign in his own domain if he could not count on unqualified obedience from subordinates who controlled one-half of the land?"
To grasp the enormous amount of land under the control f the Church, the See of Peter would rule France, Germany, England and Spain and from Rome!
Further implications were drawn from these reforms. Clergy were exempt from the civil courts. This exemption of clergy constituted a serious threat to the equal administration of justice throughout the realm where the ratio of clergy to laity was estimated as somewhere between 1 to 50 and 1 to 25.
Opposition was cowed into submission, but only for a few centuries.
Henry II of England (1133-1189), king of England, founder of the Plantagenet dynasty and of the Angevin Empire, who resisted clerical immunities and had the Archbishop killed , did penance at the Archbishop's tomb to obtain the blessings of the Pope and get into the Holy Father's good graces once more.
Henry IV, king in Germany and Roman emperor (1050-1106), hurled defiance at Pope Gregory VII when the pope categorically insisted on the imposition of clerical celibacy and the abolition of lay investiture .
For being unwilling to submit graciously, the emperor was excommunicated and his subjects were released from oaths of obedience. Suddenly, the king had no subjects. In order to recover his scepter, he had to stand as a supplicant in the snow at Canossa.
From the 13th century triumph of Pope Innocent III (1160-1216), the success of the Gregorian reform was accomplished. A culture had emerged properly designated as Christendom.
Bainton identifies the fashioning of Christendom's first stage as the conversion of the north peoples. Example abound from Druids who scarcely beyond human sacrifice and Teutons, worshipping Thor within the sacred oak. These examples have been introduced earlier but are repeated as a reminder of the extent of Christian claims in Europe.
An especially moving sermon by Paulinus is recorded when "he pointed to a swallow flitting through the Saxon banqueting hall from darkness to darkness as a parable of the life of a man, were it not that Christ has shed light and hope on the darkness beyond."
At the opposite end of the Empire, St. Cyril (826-869) and St. Methodius (c. 815-885), The "Apostles to the Slavs," were brothers who came from a Greek senatorial family in Thessalonica. The younger brother, originally Constantine, did not assume the name Cyril until he became a monk in 868.
In 862, the Emperor Michael III sent the two brothers as missionaries to what is now Moravia, where they taught in the language of the people. Almost immediately, the brothers immersed themselves in the language of the people, and Cyril invented an alphabet call Glagolithic or Cyrillic and became the founder of Slavonic literature, adopting Slavonic also for the celebration of the Liturgy and circulating al Slavonic version of the Scriptures. A few years later they journeyed to Rome. In Rome, Cyril died in a monastery shortly after taking monastic vows and was solemnly buried in the church of San Clemente.
St. Methodius was then consecrated bishop and returned to Moravia. But though he was given full Papal authority, he was defied by the German bishops and imprisoned for two years. Pope John VIII secured his release, but he deemed it expedient to withdraw the permission to use Slavonic as the regular language, though the alphabet used by the Slavonic peoples of the Eastern Church was a treasure and a lasting gift of these missionaries to the Slavs.
In Prague, July 5 is a public holiday in honor of St. Cyril and St. Methodius. There is a baroque Church (Resslova 9) with a pilastered façade and a small central tower that was built in the 1730s. During World War II, in May 1942 specifically, parachutists who assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi governor of Czechoslovakia, hid in the Church's crypt along with members of the Czech Resistance. Their hiding place revealed and rather than surrender to the Germans, the men took their own lives. Some of the outer structure still shows the evidence of bullet holes made by German machine guns during the siege. On the outer wall of the crypt, one may find a memorial plaque recalling this bit of 20th century history.
The following day, July 6, there is a public holiday to commemorate the death of Jan Hus or Huss, an important Reformer and a predecessor of Luther and the other Reformers of the 16th century.
St. Cyril and St. Methodius, part of the extensive missionary outreach of the Christian Church, spoke eloquently and effectively regarding the death-conquering Christ. In a barbaric and pagan culture, the message of the death-conquering Christ was effectively reinforced by the intercession of saints whose relics were part of the missionary's equipment. Among polytheistic people the saints became successors of the gods.
The missionary enterprise adapted to the needs of this wild and unpredictable frontier mentality long before the American West came into view, as the missionaries brought with them, in addition to the scripture (St. Boniface) and relics, the demands of the Gospel.
The demands of the Gospel were laid on this unbridled people through the use of the penitentials of varying kinds but essential ways to get a grip on the people and get them to conform, as nearly as possible, to the ethical demands of the Gospel.
As Bainton remarks, "Not only were penalties imposed on earth but punishments and rewards offered in the life to come. The Pauline doctrine of justification by faith apart from works was too precarious a word to commit to these undisciplined hordes."
Students of Christian history recognize that conversion was by peoples and tribes rather than individuals. This practice may strike modern hearers or readers as odd, especially since we are more accustomed to the "demand for a personal commitment" to the Gospel and, in adults, an understanding of faith as a prerequisite to baptism .
In this context and linked to the missionary enterprise of the time, however, the sage wisdom of the eminent historian of the Christian Church, Kenneth Scott Latourette speaks to this issue and other issues in A History of Christianity.

Latourette writes,

The conversion of the bulk of the Saxons was through the vigorous use of armed force by Charlemange. Charlemange was determined to bring the Saxons into his realm and in 772 reduced much of the region to ostensible submission. As part of the process of integration under his rule he insisted upon baptism. He could not always be in the Saxon territories and during his absences repeated revolts broke out. As often as these occurred he returned with fire and sword. He did not depend entire upon armed force. Many of the recalcitrant he moved into the Rhineland among a professed Christian population, thus to facilitate assimilation. He encouraged missionaries, many of them Anglo-Saxons, to come to these kinfolk of theirs and baptize and instruct them. He divided the land into dioceses and had bishops set over them, thus giving the area a comprehensive ecclesiastical organization.

. . . . . . .

Whether by force or by quiet instruction by missionaries, the Saxons became staunch adherents of their Christian profession. In the next period they were to become the bulwarks of the faith.
Before the year 950 beginnings had been made in the conversion of the Scandinavians, the last wave of pagan invasion which was to scourge Western Europe. Willibrord made an effort to plan the faith in Denmark, but without success.

. . . . . . .

Before 950 some of the Scandinavians who settled within "Christendom" accepted baptism. This was the case in England.
. . . . . . .

From the preceding summary, all too brief, of the conversions of peoples of Western Europe, it will be l seen how largely it was by mass movements of entire tribes or peoples, lead by the chieftains or kings. As the numerical triumph of Christianity in the Roman Empire had been completed by mass conversion encouraged and latterly enforced by the Emperors, so that in these much small units which made up Western Europe in this period, that faith was adopted as the religion of the community, usually at the command or at least with the energetic assistance of the prince.

We must note the contrast between the theology officially held in the Church in the West and the practice, a contrast which was to continue down to our own day, not only in the Catholic Church of the West, but also in the large wings of its major offshoot, Protestantism. The theology was Augustinian and in theory held that only through God's grace could any one be saved, that the recipients of grace were predestined and that presumably, as Augustine had held, their number was infallibly fixed. As a corollary of predestination all chosen by God would be saved through irresistible grace and the perseverance of the saints. Those not chosen would not be saved, regardless of what they or others, such as missionaries, might attempt to do. In apparent contradiction of that conviction, whole tribes and peoples were baptized and given Christian instruction and the other ministries of the Church.
There seems to be no evidence that any of the missionaries were troubled by this paradox. If they were, they might have taken refuge in the finds of the Synod of Orange in 529, findings which had Papal approval and which held that by the grace transmitted through baptism all who had received that rite can, if they labor faithfully, do those things which "belong to the salvation of the soul." Since through mass conversions baptism was practically universal and was given in infancy to successive generations, it followed that all might be saved if they worked together with God, performing those things which were held to be commanded by Him through the Church.

As Bainton points out, conversion of individuals, rather than by tribe or peoples creates a problem for individuals, who suffer "a complete social dislocation and, disowned by their own people, have had to find a home within a European or Europeanized community. This was not the course adopted in the winning of the West. Commonly kings and queens were converted and at their behest whole peoples received the waters of baptism. Such was of necessity highly superficial and genuine Christianization had to come forward."
It was now the real work of ministry begins. For instance, the monks and the monasteries, long adapted to rural life and the rural economy, ministered to people in simple ways, from draining swamps to training their children. In some instances, monks served parish churches.
While the monks cherish and even prize seclusion and the solitary life and even prize contemplation, the monk was not withdrawn entirely from the social fabric of community or society.
There was no pope in the 12th century as influential as the monk St. Bernard (1190-1153 AD), Abbot of Clairvaux. Surviving letters and sermons of St. Bernard show him rebuking monks for their foibles with an itch of singularity, who enjoy better the singing of one psalm alone in the choir when the other brothers of the monastery are asleep than an entire Psalter in the company of the brothers. These "critical" issues indicate, however, the world is settling-down and society is becoming more stable, but the needs of ordinary people are increasing whether in cities, towns, villages, or hamlets.
Whereas the urban centers often had a cathedral and corps of responsible clergy for the cure of souls, the majority of the population lived in villages or in ecclesiastical terms, vicarages. The term vicarages arose because the incumbent was commonly a substitute for a more permanent minister or priest. Change was afoot, though.
In the early Middle Ages, a landlord frequently built a chapel and appointed a rector, assigning certain lands for his support. From this arrangement grew the tithe system. But the incumbent was often expected to be the landlord's private chaplain, hunting and hawking companion, and sometimes did not reside on the housing provided and may have even not resided on the property but delegated any ministerial functions to a vicar. The vicar was the one who did the work of ministry.
Bishops, recognizing the problems, attempted to emancipate the rural churches from lay control. Bainton observes,

One expedient was to assign [vicars] to monasteries, which became themselves, the rectors and the recipients of the revenues. Sometimes they undertook to provide for the cure of souls from their own ranks, but of this arrangement there was grievous complaint inasmuch as the only baptismal font was located at the monastery, and the villages might be a dozen miles away. In case of extremity an infant might die on the road. Therefore a substitute for the rector, the vicar, was assigned to the parish. His living [however] was precarious since the monastery continued to appropriate approximately two-thirds of the income [for its own purposes whatever they might be] . . .. The bishops fought the monasteries on behalf of the vicars and themselves, and if there was no monastery in the picture, the bishop made his own levy.

. . . . . . . .

On the Continent the bishop [himself] often took one-fourth or one-third of the income.

There was an effort to restrict a bishop to not more than a bushel of barley, a keg of wine, and a pig worth sixpence. To thwart this enterprise in his personal fortunes, the bishop pled obligations, for bishops had heavy obligations and social responsibilities.
One bishop reported that he had to entertain three hundred guests on a single day, not to mention 60 to 80 beggars. The expense of defraying the costs of scholars could not be undertaken through an ordinary church living. Since the average vicarage apparently comprised, in England, 4000 acres, one asks, "Why could not this support a vicar?" He had to cultivate his own glebe , the cultivated land he used that was expected to yield one-half of his support. There are reports that some vicars were reduced to theft in order to survive.
If the vicar is a farmer with only crude tools for cultivation, it is little wonder any scholarship time was available for high quality sermons and there was little time for study and learning. Quite likely, there were some bright fellows around but their energy was devoted to survival.
Yet, compared to the villagers, the parish priest or vicar was the most instructed person in the community. To him, his flock turned as counselor, teacher, lawyer, doctor and friend. His major ministerial practice was administration of the sacraments and especially the Latin Mass. If he found it difficult to parse the Latin of the Mass, he nevertheless knew enough to instruct his little flock in the rudiments of faith and conduct.
Speaking of the sacraments as central to his ministering tasks, of course, the administration of baptism was though essential to salvation. If a priest was not present to administer the sacrament to a newly born child, a midwife might administer the sacrament using Latin, good or bad, or even English or some other vernacular if the intent was to baptism.
For the adults, however, the sacrament of great importance was the Mass. Latin was the language, so the laity did not understand the lines or words of the Mass. So went the liturgy, intoned by the priest, and the words of the service were simply inaudible, and especially so the Canon of the Mass.
While the priest was performing the liturgy ('the work of the people"), a congregation was urged to spend time with private devotion. In effect, two parallel services were underway simultaneously: the priest conducting the Mass, the laity doing their devotions.
At dramatic moments, little bells rang to draw attention to the liturgy, such as the Elevation of the Host, and the little dramatic acts were readily intelligible in spite of the fact the spoken words by the priest often were not. Yet if one were observant or simply alert through years of repetition and memory, the medieval Christian could think about the sanctuary, richly endowed with symbolism, candles, incense, gold, silver, precious jewels, relics, and these visual and sensory symbols became '"a book to the lewd [ignorant] people that they may read in the imagery and painture that clerks read in books.'"
Thus, as one tours medieval Churches and pauses to observe and read the stained glass windows, the rose windows, the elaborate carving and sculpture, one senses that importance of imagery and rich symbolism directed, in part, toward the ordinary and simple Christian. These artifacts were the chalkboard, books, television and other contemporary media of the Middle Ages, and will continue to serve in the Reformation of the 16th century but with changes.
Close examination of the scenes in the windows and ornamentation in medieval Roman Catholic Churches engages the observant modern visitor. The 21st century visitor and perhaps worshipper is grasped by the central focus of the sanctuary and standing in the nave recognizes his or her eyes are directed toward the theology of the Medieval Roman Catholic Church: the Passion, the continuing sacrifice of Christ.
With the Passion of Christ placed at the center of worship and the liturgy, the sacramental life of the Roman Church takes visible and audible shape. As Bainton explains,

[the ordinary Christians] knew the Mass arose from the [Lord's] Supper, which the Lord shared with his disciples before he suffered. They knew that it re-enacted the suffering of the Lord. On the altar the cross of Calvary was again set up. If he who there suffered was God then the Incarnation had to be repeated. The very bread and wine change not to the sight of the eye, the touch of the hand, or the taste of the mouth but in substance into the very flesh and blood of God.

As Bainton explains,

the Passion meant the forgiveness of sins [and] communion with the ever-dying and ever-risen Lord. The Mass was celebrated not simply on behalf of those attending but also for the souls departed whose bodies lay beneath the stones in the cathedral floor. Here the Church Militant met with the Church Triumphant and earthly pilgrims were rapt into the company of the saints in heaven.

If one understands the rationale of the Roman Catholic Church its elaborate sacramental system and recognizes the enormous influence the Mass held throughout the Middle Ages, then, one begins to grasp the role the sacrament of penance played, as it involved contrition, confession and satisfaction. Penance precedes communion and thus the private confession invites potential problems.
As we observed in the lecture on pastoral care, the priest met the parishioner in the confessional and subjected the man or woman to a detailed spiritual examination in faith and morals.
Bainton translates, modernizes the language and quotes from John R.H. Moorman's Church Life in England in the Thirteenth Century with respect to the confessional office.

The clergy were taught to probe into the secret places of a man's life so that his confession might be full and nothing kept back from God. Some of the questions which he [the priest] was told to put to the penitent were very searching. "Have you taught your children the [Apostles'] Creed and the Lord's Prayer?" "Have you without devotion heard any predicacion?" "If your children are 'shrewes' have you tried to teach them good manners?" "Have you ridden over growing corn?" "Have you left the churchyard open so that beasts go in?" "Have you eaten with such main that you have cast it up again?" This indeed was a searching cross-examination, from which no one could hope to emerge faultless.

Confession, Bainton argues, expunged sins. And the sacramental life of the Roman Catholic Church, some practices reaching into the pagan past and remote pagan antiquity, were now invested with Christian symbolism and teaching the faithful the meaning of the seasonal round, what we know as the Church or Christian year.
An example of the seasonal round may be observed in how Christmas (Christ-mass) was observed. At Christmas,

Children stole into the church to see the crib . . . At Candlemas the congregation marched around the church with lighted candles. All received ashes [made from the previous year's Palm branches if such existed or perhaps ashes from some other source] on Ash Wednesday that they might understand the defilement of sin. On Maundy Thursday, great men washed the feet of the poor. On Good Friday men crept to the Cross in humble adoration of Him who had died for them. On Easter Eve the new fire was hallowed from which the Pascal candle was lighted. At Rogationtide the fields were blessed and religion consecrated daily toil. At Whitsuntide the dove descended from the roof of the church, while clouds of incense perfumed the air. At Corpus Christi time were the glad processions of those rejoicing in Emmanuel, God with us. At Lammas the loaf . . . was presented as an act of thanksgiving. On All Hallows five boys in surplices changed "Veniti omnes virgines sapientissimae" in honor of those who had gone in to the marriage supper of the Lamb. On St. Nicholas Day or Holy Innocents [Day] a boy pontificated, reminding all of the command to turn and become as little children.

In discussing the Christian year and before passing to other ecclesiastical pursuits it is appropriate mention carnival, "a period of feasting and merry-making immediately preceding Lent."
The carnival served as a break from the labor and routine that encompassed so much of medieval life. The history of carnival begins in pre-Christian Greece and Rome and in Babylonia and Egypt.
The festivals that began the carnival tradition include the Roman Saturnalia.
The pagan Roman Saturnalia was held in honor of
Saturn, who in one of his many forms was the god of sowing. His wife, Ops, was also honored as the goddess of crops and the harvest. This festival in honor of the sowing of seed for the coming year and commemorating the happy, classless reign of Saturn was celebrated December 17, and lasted seven days. Social rank was temporarily forgotten, and slaves dined with masters.
Gifts were exchanged between people of different social positions, and feasting, drinking, and sexual activity were unrestricted. Over the Saturnalia reigned a king chosen by lot, who was burned in effigy at the conclusion of the festivities.

These agriculture festivals were quite popular in antiquity, and festivals continued during the early medieval period. As with many pagan traditions, the Roman Catholic Church, rather than attempted to eradicate them, permitted their continuance but endowed with Christian meanings.
As example of reinterpretation of a pagan tradition is that the Saturnalia became carnival (from caro vale, "good-bye flesh"). However, the more probable derivation of carnival comes from carnem levare, "to put away flesh-meat." Hence, in the Roman Catholic Church calendar, Lent was a time when fasting and abstinence from meat was enjoined on the people.
Pope Paul II (1464-1471AD) ordered a variety of race be held in Rome and introduced masked balls. The Church attempted to curb the pagan excesses that naturally carried over into the festival observance. But, as The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, explains, "Such seasons of feasting and dancing early degenerated into riots, hence the transference of the word to secular festive occasions" was undertaken.
The art of preaching in the Middle Ages has drawn attention from a variety of scholars and has produced an equal variety of interpretations. Pope Gregory the Great's The Pastoral Rule instructs the parish priest or friar in their pastoral office on how to behave themselves. The pastor

is to be discreet in keeping silence, profitable in speech, a near neighbor to everyone in sympathy, exalted above all in contemplation; a familiar friend of good lives through humility, unbending against vice of evil doers through zeal for righteousness; not relaxing in his care for what is inward from being occupied in outward things, not neglecting to provide for outward things in his solicitude for what is inward.

A pastor is counseled to adapt the Word to the hearer in the pew. But the medieval preacher in most parishes was not able to live up to Gregory's admonitions regarding preaching. Jacob of Voragine, a prominent figure in 13th century Italy, recognized times had changed from the lofty aspirations for ministry under Pope Gregory the Great.
Indeed, the problem might be with the fishermen, who has been reduced to the role of hunter. In the early days of the Church, he observed, the preacher threw a net and drew in a multitude. Now, the preacher is more like a hunter, who with much labor and outcry, catches a single fish. If in fishing the catch is not large, the reason may lie with the fish, for the fish avoid the net of preaching.

Jacob of Voragine notes,

They fish at the wrong time, they fish too deep with poor tackle or broken nets, or they fish in the
Wrong place. Those who fish among riches, pleasures, and honor, are fishing in the wrong place. Those who look for death-bed repentances, or try to instruct others when they themselves are ignorant are fishing in the wrong time. They who look for money or honor throw their hooks too low, and those who preach in word while their lives do not correspond, fish with broken nets.

The office of ministry appears to be in the midst of swift transition during the late Middle Ages. Latourette remarks investigations of parish clergy and their ministry by archbishops and bishops

showed substantial numbers of the parish priests did not understand the Latin of the service which they conducted, not even that of the Mass. Very few were familiar with the Bible. The rise and multiplication of universities in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries might have been supposed to bring improvement, especially since in some of them the major subject was theology. However, canon law seems to have been more studied than theology, for it was a better road to preferment. Then, too, not many parish priests were university graduates. University men tended to go into the higher ranks of clergy or into teaching, or to be absorbed in the central administrative structure of dioceses and the Papacy. Not all metropolitan cathedrals had occupants for chairs of theology, which were required in principle.

Based on the evaluation of ministry in the late Middle Ages by several historians of the period, the verdict is clear. Ministry is a high calling indeed, but it just as easily become a haven for the morally lax, the greedy, the scoundrel, the sexual predator and the incompetent occupant in the office of ministry.
John Cyrc (Mirk), a 15th century author in England, issued a booklet, Instructions for Parish Priests. It is a marvelous summary of the desirability of a morally secure priest, who life and living matches the words he utters from the pulpit.
The opening section of the booklet is a reminder to the priest that his preaching will be in vain if his life is evil.

For little of worth is the preaching
If thou be of evil living.

The priest and preacher must be morally pure, avoid untrue oaths and do not get drunk.

Taverns also thou must forsake
And merchandise thou shalt not take.
Wrestling and shooting and such manner game
Thou must not use without blame.
Hawking, hunting and dancing
Thou must forgo for anything
Cutted clothes and peaked schoon [shoes]
Thy fame they will for-done
Markets and fairs I thee forbid
But it be for more need.
In honest clothes thou must gone [go]
Basilard and baudrick wear thou none.
Beard and crown thou must be shave
If thou would thy order save.
Of meat and drink thou must be free
To poor and rich by thy degree.
Gladly thou must thy Psalter read
And of the day of doom have dread.
And ever do good against evil
Or else thou might not live well.

Women's service thou must forsake
Of evil fame lest they thee make.
. . . Thus this world thou must despise
And holy virtues have in vise [view]
If thou do thus, thou shallt be dear
To all men that seen and hear.
Thus thou must also preach
And thy parish gladly teach
When one hath done a sin
Look he lie not long therein
But anyone that he him shrive
Be it husband, be it wife
Lest he forget by Lenten's day
And out mind it go away.

The poem then goes on to discuss excommunication, baptism, the Mass, behavior in church and worship, payment of tithes, articles of belief and how to conduct confession. Bainton expresses the thought that one may "infer from these instructions that although preaching was enjoined, it was either not too highly regarded or else considered too simple to elaborate."
The practice of ministry itself was complicated and confused during this time, as one or more wandering priests, ordained, but not adequately controlled by bishops, intruded in parishes, administered the sacraments in disregard for the parish priest. Then, there were, as Latourette observes,

assistant clergy, deacons or sub-deacons. There were parish clerks. There were chantry priests. These last said masses on behalf of the souls of the dead and were supported by endowments left by pious benefactors for that purpose. Frequently they had other duties and were really assistants to the rector. All too often their time outside that spend in saying mass was flittered away in idleness or worship. In some parishes there were also chaplains in charge of the chapels which were erected to serve those who lived at inconvenient distances from the parish church. Again and again members of the mendicant orders disregarded parish boundaries and conflicts ensued with the secular clergy. However, by their preaching and example, especially during the flush of devotion in the early days of the orders, the friars helped to raise the level of intelligence and living of the rank and file if the laity. This they did both as a result of their direct impact upon them and indirectly by stimulating the seculars to be more faithful in their ministry.

In the course of time, instruction of the great body of laity appears to have increased over the centuries. Much of this improvement appears to have been done through preaching.
Preaching, once the responsibility of bishops, was now done by parish priests, the mendicant friars and, in some dioceses, energetic bishops were given tangible encouragement in the conduct of their office and carrying out their responsibilities.

In 1281, John Peckham, a highly educated Franciscan, Archbishop of Canterbury, had his provincial synod command the priests to preach each quarter, instructing their parishioners in the articles of faith, the Ten Commandments, the seven deadly sins , the seven principle virtues and the seven sacraments . In more than one country books of sermons were prepared and circulated to assist the priests in their preaching. Instruction also came through religious plays that were given in churches and churchyards. It was further through paintings on the walls of churches, sculpture, and stained-glass windows.
Finally, a word about the use of Church buildings and the congregation in worship and between times. Given the fact that the cathedral or Church building was the only large covered building in the community, it was used for a variety of purposes, including buying and selling. The deportment of the ordinary folk seems to have been uniform whether in worship or in the marketplace set up inside the sanctuary.

Even during the services gallants ogled the
ladies, women gossiped, pickpockets stole
and prostitutes solicited. The preacher was
driven to meretricious devices for attracting
attention such as suspending eggs of ostriches in
the churches. When the congregation dozed, a preacher cried, "'There was a king named Arthur,'" and as the ears pricked up, he castigated the hearers for listening only when titillated by tales.

Tales indeed if one appreciates the staging of the sermon and the role the participants in the sermon were expected to play. Gibes at women were especially relished, but the woman had their revenge if they so chose, because they outnumbered the men in worship rather substantially in numbers.
One manual for preachers relates a story that remains interesting to modern hearers. It seems a man wished to dispose of his wife without bring guilt upon his head. He left on a journey and left instructions for two boxes of candy. He instructed his wife under no conditions was she to touch the box which he knew was poisoned and she did not. On his return, as expectantly hoped for, he found she had died.
How this story fit the sermon of the day is unknown but certainly it, and similar stories, must have gripped the listeners for a few seconds, and with varying degrees of appreciation.
If the women were subjected to too much of this sort of story, their revenge was relieved by castigating the men for gluttony, drunkenness, swearing and the like.

As Western Christianity in the late Middle Ages came to a close,
Bainton offers a summary that merits masterful reading that merits thoughtful attention. Though he mentions movements that I have not covered, he anticipates issues that surface in the early stages of the Reformation of the 16th century.

I summarize the main points of Bainton's essay, which serve as a masterful and artful summary of the changing role of ministry and church order during the Middle Ages, but not forgetting Chyrsostom and Augustine in the process.

1. The great Gregorian reforms achieved much success at the price of dilution.

2. The peace campaign ended in crusades and crusades fell into disrepute when the very dregs of Europe enlisted for the Holy Land, when Christian princes were willing to sell Christian slaves to the Turks, when financing the crusades was a racket, and when disasters made men doubt whether after all Dieu le Veult.

3. The imposition of clerical celibacy in the Middle Ages met only restricted success. Many of the clergy refused to abandon their wives but this gallant gesture degenerated into a system of clerical concubinage condoned and even taxed by the [Roman Catholic] Church.

4. A medieval prince-bishop frivolously remarked that as a bishop he was celibate but as a prince he was the father of a large family.

5. The Papacy was invaded by laxity, witness the license of the Renaissance Popes. Nothing happened outside Rome that did not occur inside Rome.

6. The prevalence of irregularities is revealed in the story that word reached a concubinous vicar of the impending visit from the bishop to terminate the relationship. The vicar's lady, carrying a basket, intercepted the bishop on the way, who inquired where she was going. She replied that she was taken a present to the bishop's lady at her lying in. The bishop paid his call without raising the question.
On another occasion when after a revival in Wales when the clergy resolved to put away their concubines, the bishop actually forebade them because he would lose the revenue derived from the tax on such infractions of the canon law.

5. Though the high watermark of the Papacy was the 13th century, it was a time when sectarian movements began to surface. For instance, a group known as the Cathari came in contact with another Gnostic group the Bogomili of Bulgaria. The crusades brought them into contact with each other. The Cathari thought of themselves as Christian, employed the Gospels and outdid the most monkish of monks in their austerities.

6. Then there is the case of Peter Waldo, the product of a rising mercantile class in southern France in the 12th century. He sold his goods, gave to the poor and dedicated himself to a life of poverty. He was doing well in the eyes of Mother Church, but he felt the urge to acquaint himself with the Scriptures and began to preach. Since he was an unauthorized layman, he was subjected to theological examination. Contemporary records show he was asked a series of questions. "Do you believe in God the Father Almighty?" "Yes," he replied. "Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord?" "Yes," he responded. "Do you believe in the Virgin Mary?" "Yes" was the answer. "Do you believe in the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God?" "Yes," Waldo responded. A cry of consternation went up, for the expression "the Mother of God" meant Waldo was a Nestorian heretic. He was refused permission to preach but he defied the order and thus became the founder of a schismatic sect.

7. A generation after the Waldo affair, St. Francis found himself in an identical position, but Pope Innocent III, perhaps mindful of the blunder of his predecessor, granted a quasi permission, and Francis became a saint in the RCC and the father of a great preaching order.

8. The veritable symbol of the late Middle Ages is Dante Alighieri who even better than the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, conveyed the mood of life lived sub specie aeternitatis. Dante, a layman, was an imperialist, not a papist. That is, he favored the emperor rather than the Pope. As such, he was exiled from Florence but his political theory expressed desire to restrict the RCC severely to the political sphere. Highly versed in the universal language of the RCC, the Latin, nevertheless, he composed his great poem of medieval faith in the language of common folk.
The Divina Commedia, written in the Italian vernacular, expressed Dante's mind, for he desires to see the continuance of the great Christian society under two luminaries, the Church and the State. Yet Dante is critical of particular Popes as were the pre-Reformation prophetic reformers and their movements.
In the tradition of the Spiritual Franciscans, Dante portrays Christ upon the Cross, deserted by all save La Donna Poverta.

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