The Gregorian Reform / Christendom

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The Gregorian Reform

In the tenth and eleventh centuries, the Catholic Church was having some problems. The Church became entangled in the feudal system where the bishops and the abbots were chosen by the lords or nobles. They held their offices as fiefs, and as vassals, they had to serve and be chosen by their lords. However, the lords chose people for political reasons, so they could keep hold of their power. This resulted as a decline in the spiritual rigor, and led to several conflicts.

Between the years 1049 and 1054, we can see the “Moderate Reform” taking place. It was the Pope Leo IX that conducted this reform. He rejected simony and tried to abolish it, he also went against clerical marriage. At various councils, he condemned the abuses, and with the collection of 74 titles he made an emphasis on the Papal authority, and exhorted the layman to choose good clerical candidates. However, this didn’t create much impact.

It was until the “Gregorian Reform” took place that things began to change. The Pope St. Gregory VII held a council in which he declared that all clerics who had been invested by a layman were going to be deposed, and all laymen who were doing the investing were going to be excommunicated. King Henry IV needed those bishops to set the power of the nobles, which led him to rise up against the Pope. As a result, the Pope excommunicated Henry and also declared him deposed. However, Gregory later on lifted the excommunication from Henry. Eventually, Henry rebelled again, and was again excommunicated, but this time he drove the Pope out of Rome, where the Pope died in the year 1085.

Finally, in the year 1122, the Concordant of Worms was laid out. This was an agreement between the Church and some form of government, which more or less resolved the problem of investiture.

Finishing up, even though the “Moderate Reform” was performed in order to bring the Catholic Church back to its foundation, it was until the “Gregorian Reform” was completed for there to be changes in the Church.

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Christendom has been referred to as the worldwide community of Christians. This is true; however, historically speaking it refers to the medieval and early modern period where the Christian (Catholic) world held a geopolitical power. The Catholic Church was the established religion of the state. Nationality didn’t matter, they were just one big community that was all over Europe, or many nations in that time. For this reason, monasteries sent their monks from one country to another, the choosing of superior had nothing to do with nationality, and the acceptance of a university professor either.

While I study history, it comes to my attraction how the Catholic Church was able to expand itself so rapidly and so widely. This is something that the Christian faith has not accomplished, but instead more and more people have been leaving it. I also acknowledge that the Catholic Church did accept more paganism on its way of converting people, which led to syncretism. Even so, how come we have been failing on what Jesus sent us to do? Is it that we have forgotten what Christianity really is, and therefore have not been representing the Kingdom of God?

Many people say that you cannot prove the existence of God. However, I don’t believe in that. When I look at the book of John chapter 17 and see specifically this following verse, everything we have said about not being able to prove the existence of God is contradicted.

John 17:21

That they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me.

Notice how Jesus is talking about the world believing in Him. He is talking about the non-believers. If He says that the non-believers can believe in Him if we are one spirit with Him, then how come we say that we cannot prove His existence? This leads me to the inevitable answer.

Christians are not one spirit with Him.

Ever since the day we came to Christianity they have been telling us that we have been born again and therefore we are one with Him. But if I can’t prove God sent Jesus, then am I really one with Him? Or have I just been living a religious philosophy? Maybe that’s why it’s easier to live a religion. I say this because in order to be one spirit with Him, you have to deny yourself, and take your life to the cross.

Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Luke 14:27

Whoever doesn’t bear his own cross, and come after me, can’t be my disciple.

If I don’t live according to what Jesus tells me to, then I cannot possibly be one with Him. Salvation is easy, but to be a son takes a lifetime. It takes the giving up of your desires and dreams. The path of the cross is the path EVERY Christian should take, because if you don’t, then you’re just living a religious philosophy.

Categories: Western Civilization 1 | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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