Church Reform

1358 Words6 Pages
The role of the Roman pope in religious and political life changed dramatically in the eleventh and twelfth centuries because church reform and the crusades brought about new tensions. The pope, most notably Pope Leo IX and Pope Gregory VII, played an important role in church reform, often battling with those in power to purify the church and redefine the place of the church in the world. The pope also became more assertive militarily, as seen in Pope Urban II when he called for the crusades. Reform greatly changed the role of the papacy, and reform came about due to many reasons. After the end of the Carolingian era, power was more localized and divided between dukes, counts, and lords, who founded their own monasteries. They chose their…show more content…
One clash was the 11th century investiture conflict between King Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII, concerning church leadership. Henry had placed an archbishop in power, but Gregory disagreed with his authority to do so. Pope and bishop elections were defining issues of reform and challenged the balance between powers that had existed in the past (monarchs and popes working together to rule). Gregory argued that kings should not be able to place archbishops in office, as kings and emperors were only laymen and should not be involved in church affairs. In the letters exchanged between the two, Henry argued that Gregory was disrespecting him and the lord for questioning his authority to choose a pope, since Henry was king by god’s decision (Rosenwein, Reading, 259). In response, Gregory excommunicated him and tried to convince others to abandon the king. The conflict would come to divide Europe as people scrambled to choose sides. Gregory argued that royal power should not be greater than papal. (Rosenwein, Reading, 260). The pope used his power to do away with the corruption of kings and emperors, thus playing a major role in church reform. By attempting to prevent monarchs from selecting papal leaders, the pope sought to reform the church at its roots. Uncorrupted leaders would lead to a less corrupt church (tainted by money and special favors) overall. Gregory claimed that popes should have all power…show more content…
For example, Leo IX would travel around (uncommon for a pope at the time) and speak to people (Whalen, October 19 Lecture). One action that could garner support was the declaration of wars. The changes within Europe itself had much to do with the crusades. A strong and assertive Roman papacy with more power emerged and Pope Urban II called for the first crusade (Whalen, October 7 Lecture). The idea of enforcing peace through violence is related to the Peace and Truce of God. The pope advocated for turning to outside enemies and an innovative kind of holy war emerged (Whalen, MP, 103). The role of the pope became more aggressive and religion was used as a means to violence. Through the violence, the pope could continue to reform. He also used promises of remission of all sins to motivate people to fight. (Whalen, MP, 107). “The popes of Rome united the idea of sanctified violence with the penitential ethos of pilgrimage, carried out with the promise of spiritual rewards granted by the authority of the Apostolic See” (Whalen 103). Urban also told people that they could get new land through the crusades (Urban II, Sermon). Though the pope wasn’t directly offering people land, this relates back to how kings and emperors would use land as currency in the localized world. Of course wars related to religion had been fought before, but the crusades were unique
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