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a number of new kingdoms arose, and Europe fell, by an inevitable necessity, into a political chaos ; how, since there was thus no protecting government, each great landowner had to protect himself, and the rightfulness of private war became recognised; how, through this evil state, the strange consequence ensued of a great increase in the population, it becoming the interest of every lord to raise as many peasants as he could, offering his lands on personal service, the value of an estate being determined by the number of retainers it could furnish, and hence arose the feudal system; how the monarchical principle, once again getting the superiority, asserted its power in Germany in Henry the Fowler and his descendants, the three Othos; how, by these great monarchs, the subjection of Italy was accomplished, and the morality of the German clergy vindicated by their attempts at the reformation of the papacy, which fell to the last degree of degradation, becoming, in the end, an appanage of the Counts of Tusculum, and, shameful to be said, in some instances given by prostitutes to their paramours or illegitimates, in some, to mere boys of precociously dissolute life ; before long, A.D. 1045, it was actually to be sold for money. We have now approached the close of a thousand years from the birth of Christ; the evil union of the Church and State, their rivalries, their intrigues, their quarrels, had produced an inevitable result, doing the same in the West that they had done in the East; disorganizing the political system, and ending in a universal social demoralization. The absorption of small properties into large estates steadily increased the number of slaves; where there had once been Social condi- many free families, there was now found only a tion of Europe. rich man.
Even of this class the number dimi. nished by the same process of absorption, until there were sparsely scattered here and there abbots and counts with enormous estates worked by herds of slaves, whose numbers, since sometimes one man possessed more than 20,00) of them, might deceive us, if we did not consider the vast surface over which they were spread. Examined in that way, the West of Europe proves to have been covered with forests, here and there dotted with a convent or a town. From those countries, once full of the splendid evidences of Roman civilization, mankind was fast disappearing. There was no political cause, until at a later time, when the feudal system was developed, for calling men into existence. Whenever there was a partial peace, there was no occasion for the multiplication of men beyond the intention of extracting from them the largest possible revenue, à condition implying their destruction. Soon even the necessity for legislation ceased; events were left to take their own course. Through the influence of the monks the military spirit declined ; a vile fetichism of factitious relics, which were working miracles in all directions, constituted the individual piety. Whoever died without bequeathing a part of his property to the Church, died without confession and the sacraments, and forfeited Christian burial. Trial by battle, and the ordeals of fire and boiling water, determined innocence or guilt in those accused of crimes. Between places at no great distance apart intercommunication ceased, or, at most, was carried on as in the times of the Trojan War, by the pedlar travelling with his packs.
In these deplorable days there was abundant reason to adopt the popular expectation that the end of
Expected end all things was at hand, and that the year 1000 of the world, would witness the destruction of the world. A.D. 1000. Society was dissolving, the human race was disappearing, and with difficulty the melancholy ruins of ancient civilization could be traced. Such was the issue of the second attempt at the union of political and ecclesiastical power. In a former chapter we saw what it had Effects of the been in the East, now we have found what it Church and was in the West. Inaugurated in selfishness, it strengthens itself by violence, is perpetuated by ignorance, and yields as its inevitable result, social ruin.
And while things were thus going to wreck in the state, it was no better in the Church. The ill-omened union between them was bearing its only possible fruit, disgrace to both—a solemn warning to all future ages.
3d. This brings me to the third and remaining topic 1 proposed to consider in this chapter, to determine Value of the the actual religious value of the system in process of being forced upon Europe, using, for from the lives the purpose, that which must be admitted as the of the popes. best test the private lives of the popes.
new system estimated
To some it might seem, considering the interests of religion alone, desirable to omit all biographical reference
to the popes; but this cannot be done with Apology for referring to
justice to the subject. The essential principle the biography of the papacy, that the Roman pontiff is the of the popes. vicar of Christ upon earth, necessarily obtrudes his personal relations upon us. How shall we understand his faith unless we see it illustrated in his life? Indeed, the unhappy character of those relations was the inciting cause of the movements in Germany, France, and England, ending in the extinction of the papacy as an actual political power, movements to be understood only through a sufficient knowledge of the private lives and opinions of the popes. It is well, as far as possible, to abstain from burdening systems with the imperfections of individuals. In this case they are inseparably interwoven. The signal peculiarity of the papacy is that, though its history may be imposing, its biography is infamous. I shall, however, forbear to speak of it in this latter respect more than the occasion seems necessarily to require; shall pass in silence some of those cases which would profoundly shock my religious reader, and therefore restrict myself to the ages between the middle of the eighth and the middle of the eleventh centuries, excusing myself to the impartial critic by the apology that these were the ages with which I have been chiefly concerned in this chapter.
On the death of Pope Paul I., who had attained the pontificate A.D. 757, the Duke of Nepi compelled some
bishops to consecrate Constantine, one of his from A.D 757. brothers, as pope; but more legitimate electors subsequently, A.D. 768, choosing Stephen IV., the usurper and his adherents were severely punished; the eyes of Constantine were put out; the tongue of the Bishop Theodorus was amputated, and he was left in a dungeon to expire in the agonies of thirst. The nephews of Pope Adrian seized his successor, Pope Leo III., A.D. 795, in the street, and, forcing him into a neighbouring church, attempted to put out his eyes and cut out his tongue; at a later period, this pontiff trying to suppress a conspiracy to depose him, Rome became the scene of rebellion, murder, and conflagration. His successor, Stephen V., A.D. 816, was ignominiously driven from the city; his successor, Paschal
I., was accused of blinding and murdering two ecclesiastics in the Lateran Palace; it was necessary that imperial commissioners should investigate the matter, but the pope died, after having exculpated himself by oath before thirty bishops. John VIII., A.D. 872, unable to resist the Mohammedans, was compelled to pay them tribute; the Bishop of Naples, maintaining a secret alliance with them, received his share of the plunder they collected. Him John excoinmunicated, nor would he give him absolution unless he would betray the chief Mohammedans and assassinate others himself. There was an ecclesiastical conspiracy to murder the pope ; some of the treasures of the Church were seized ; and the gate of St. Pancrazia was opened with false keys, to admit the Saracens into the city. Formosus, who had been engaged in these transactions, and excommunicated as a conspirator for the murder of John, was subsequently elected pope, A.D. 891; he was succeeded by Boniface VI., A.D. 896, who had been deposed from the diaconate, and again from the priesthood, for his immoral and lewd life. By Stephen VII., who followed, the dead body of Formosis was taken from the grave, clothed in the papal habiliments, propped up in a chair, tried before à council, and the preposterous and indecent scene completed by cutting off three of the fingers of the corpse and casting it into the Tiber; but Stephen himself was destined to exemplify how low the papacy had fallen : he was thrown into prisun and strangled. In the course of five years, from AD 896 to A.D. 900, five popes were consecrated. Leo V., who succeeded in A.D. 904, was in less than two months thrown into prison by Christopher, one of his chaplains, who usurped his place, and who, in his turn, was shortly expelled from Rome by Sergius III., who, by the aid of a military force, seized the pontificate, A.D. 905. This man, according to the testimony of the times, lived in criminal intercourse with the celebrated prostitute Theodora, who, with her daughters Marozia and Theodora, also prostitutes, exercised an extraordinary control over him. The love of Theodora was also shared by John X.: she gave him first the archbishopric of Ravenna, and then translated him to Rome, A.D. 915, as pope. John was not unsuited to the times; he organized a confederacy which perhaps prevented Rome from being captured by the Saracens, and the world was astonished and edified by the appearance of this warlike pontiff at the head of his troops. By the love of Theodora, as was said, he had maintained himself in the papacy for fourteen years; by the intrigues and hatred of her daughter Marozia he was overthrown. She surprised him in the Lateran Palace; killed his brother Peter before his face; threw him into prison, where he soon died, smothered, as was asserted, with a pillow. After a short interval Marozia made her own son pope as John XI., A.D. 931. Many affirmed that Pope Sergius was his father, but she herself inclined to attribute him to her husband Alberic, whose brother Guido she subsequently married. Another of her sons, Alberic, so called from his supposed father, jealous of his brother John, cast him and their mother Marozia into prison. After a time Alberic's son was elected pope, A.D. 956; he assumed the title of John XII., the amorous Marozia thus having given a son and a grandson to the papacy. John was only nineteen years old when he thus became the head of Christendom. His reign was characterized by the most shocking immoralities, so that the Emperor Otho I. was compelled by the German clergy to interfere. A synod was summoned for his trial in the Church of St. Peter, before which it appeared that john had received bribes for the consecration of bishops, that he had ordained one who was but ten years old, and had performed that ceremony over another in a stable ; he was charged with incest with one of his father's concubines, and with so many adulteries that the Lateran Palace had become a brothel; he put out the eyes of one ecclesiastic and castrated another, both dying in consequence of their injuries ; he was given to drunkenness, gambling, and the invocation of Jupiter and Venus. When cited to appear before the council, he sent word that “he had gone out hunting;” and to the fathers who remonstrated with him, he threateningly remarked" that Judas, as well as the other disciples, received from his master the power of binding and loosing, but that as soon as he proved a traitor to the common cause, the only power he retained was that of binding his own neck.” Hereupon he was deposed, and