The Papal Monarchy: The Western Church from 1050 to 1250

By Colin Morris | Go to book overview

20
REASON AND HOPE IN A CHANGING WORLD.

In the preceding chapters a good deal has been said about the pastoral commitments of the church. Through preaching and the confessional, through the example of friars and the repression of heretics, the faith and morals of the laity were to be purified. This was not pastoral care in the modern spirit, for the preachers were strong on discipline and weak on lay leadership, but it represented a pattern of ministry which cannot be paralleled in earlier centuries and which had influential champions. It affected intellectuals and administrators, but they also had other concerns, and the next two chapters will examine the forces which shaped scholarship and governmental structures.


i. A New Pattern of Learning: the Universities

A universitas is a guild, a type of organization widely developed in medieval society. The recognition of the privileges of a 'university' of masters, which freed it from control by local ecclesiastical or civic authorities, created a new type of higher education in Christendom. That is not to say that it was an abrupt break. The three most outstanding universities in the thirteenth century all had a previous history as centres of study before they acquired their new privileges shortly after 1200, and the other city schools continued to function effectively. In spite of the number of masters teaching at Paris in 1170, the evidence that there was already an organized guild there is tenuous; but by the time of Innocent III the masters formed a body with its own regulations, and in 1215 the issue of statutes by Robert of Courson, papal legate and former master in theology, marked the definitive emergence of the university. In April 1231 the bull Parens scientiarum, which has been called the Magna Carta of the new university, adjudicated the continuing disputes with the bishop's chancellor. By the middle of the century the main outlines of the constitution were clear, with a rector, proctors, faculties, and a

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