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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years

I: Western Europe on the eve of the Crusades,   pp. [2]-29 PDF (56.0 KB)

Page 24

this foundation had to make his gift in free alms — that is, the only
service owed was prayers for his soul. Cluny adopted a modi fied form of
the Benedictine rule. St. Benedict had directed his monks to spend long hours
at manual labor, but once a monastery grew rich in land and peasant labor,
it was impossible to get the monks to work in the fields. The Cluniac rule
greatly extended the hours to be devoted to performing the services of the
church in the hope of keeping the monks occupied in that way. By the eleventh
century Cluny had many daughter houses. Some were new foun dations while
others were old monasteries that were more or less willingly reformed by
Cluniac monks. The order also developed a highly centralized administration.
There was only one abbot 
the abbot of Cluny. Each daughter house was headed by a prior who was subject
to the abbot of Cluny, who was supposed to visit regularly and inspect every
house of the order. In the eleventh century Cluny had enormous influence.
With the support of the emperor Henry III Cluniac monks reformed many German
mon asteries and men inspired by Cluny revived English monasti cism. All
enthusiastic and devout churchmen tended to gravitate 
toward Cluny. 
 These enthusiasts were not willing to limit their reforms to the monasteries.
They were anxious to remedy the abuses that were common among the secular
clergy. The most serious of these was lay appointment of ecciesiastics. The
great lords appointed bishops and abbots, and the lords of villages appointed
the parish priests. Closely related to this was the sin of simony, the payment
of money to obtain church offices. The lay lords were extremely in clined
to bestow offices on the highest bidder. Another abuse that seriously troubled
conscientious churchmen was the marriage of priests. To some extent this
was a moral question — canon law required priests to be celibate. But
it also vitally concerned the material interests of the church. A married
priest was inclined to think of his family before his priestly duty and was
most likely to use church property to endow his children even if he did not
suc ceed in making his office hereditary. There were, of course, other abuses
that interested the reformers, but these were the ones on which they concentrated
their attention. 
 The reformers realized that there was but one way to achieve their ends.
Even if the bishops of Europe could be made enthusi astic supporters of reform,
they were as individuals helpless before the power of the lay princes. Only
a strongly organized church with an effective central government could hope
to make much 

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