The Papal Monarchy: The Western Church from 1050 to 1250

By Colin Morris | Go to book overview

8
THE ROMAN CHURCH AND THE EMPIRE IN THE TWELFTH CENTURY

i. After the Concordat of Worms (1122-1153)

The end of the controversy over investiture marked a change in the relationship between Rome and the rest of Christendom. The popes had to respond to the growing power of a new spirituality; to the crisis of a schism, this time generated within the Roman Church and not imposed from outside; and to the new opportunities provided by a period of co-operation with the empire and other secular powers. The changing character of the papacy was illustrated by the type of men who were elected. In the forty-six years from 1073 to 1119 the four popes all came from a Benedictine or Cluniac background. From 1124 to 1159 this predominance disappeared. Of the seven popes, four had been regular canons and one a Cistercian; men from the new orders were pope for twenty-one of the thirty-five years.1 From 1130 onwards, Bernard of Clairvaux, the passionate advocate of the Cistercian order, was influential at Rome, especially under the Cistercian Pope Eugenius III ( 1145-53).

The smooth development of the Roman Church in the period after Worms was disrupted by the election of 1130. Division among the cardinals was no new thing. A large party had abandoned Gregory VII in 1084, and there had been bitter conflicts over the Pravilegium after 1112. In the 1120S, after Calixtus II had returned to Rome, one of the dominant personalities in the curia was Peter Pierleone. It was said of him about 1125 that 'he stands so high at Rome that all Rome speaks or is silent at his nod'.2 He was a member of a Roman family which had grown great in the service of the Gregorian popes.

____________________
1
The number of popes who were regular canons has been overestimated by historians. There is no solid reason for thinking that Innocent II, Anastasius II, or chancellor Haimeric were regular canons, but the extent of the change remains impressive. The calculations omit the Cluniac Anacletus II.
2
'For this and other references, see H. Bloch, "The schism of Anacletus and the Glanfeuil forgeries", Traditio 8 ( 1952), 163-4n.

-182-

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