January 19, 2000
volume 11, no. 13

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    In this journey on the Barque of Peter, we continue to detail the evolution of the Mass and the Church from the early Christian times to our present day so that all may better understand the true meaning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and our faith - the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Today we cover the second half of the Eleventh Century from Pope Saint Leo IX up to Pope Saint Gregory VII. Between these holy Pontiffs would erupt the Great East-West Schism that has forever split the Orthodox Church from the Latin rite. Also this period would see the rise of the Norman influence in Sicily and southern Italy and the establishment of the College of Cardinals as the exclusive voting body for papal elections while clamping down on lay investiture, simony and clerical celibacy.

    We will be using various sources, but the best are four books that are out of print but provide so much solid material: "My Catholic Faith - A Manual of Religion" (1949) by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow, S.T.D. from My Mission House ; "The Glories and Triumphs of the Catholic Church" (1907) from Benziger Brothers; "The Catholic Church Alone the One True Church of Christ" (1902) from the Catholic Educational Company; and "Cabinet of Catholic Information" (1904) from Duggan Publishing Co. In addition we will be using material gleaned from "The Oxford Dictionary of Popes" by J.N.D. Kelly; The Papal Princes: A History of the Sacred College of Cardinals" by Glenn D. Kittler; "Pontiffs: Popes who shaped history" by John Jay Hughes; "The Mass of the Roman Rite" by Fr. Josef Jungmann, S.J.; "The Story of the Church" from Tan Books by Fr. George Johnson, PhD; "The Story of the Mass" by Fr. Pierre Loret; "Rubrics of the Mass" by Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas; "The Wonders of the Mass" by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P.; and the Code of Canon Law", as well as the "Catechism of the Catholic Church"; "Baltimore Catechism"; Catholic Encyclopedia (Thomas Nelson Publishers); "Catholic Dictionary" by Fr. John Hardon, S.J.; "Dictionary of Saints" by John J. Delaney; "Butler's Lives of the Saints" from Benziger Brothers; "Saints of the Roman Calendar" by Enzo Lodi and Fr. Jordan Aumann, OP; "1999 Catholic Almanac" from Our Sunday Visitor, and numerous missals and references.

    With a better perception of what the Church stands for and what the Mass truly is, we will not so easily be swayed by new-fangled gimmicks and liturgical abuses being introduced by individual celebrants and ICEL, the International Committee for English in the Liturgy. We will discover why the basis for the use of vestments and sacred vessels, the purpose for the Rubrics of the Mass, the logic of Church Scholars and Popes through the ages for fending off changes that would water-down the faith and the Holy Sacrifice and even invalidate the greatest remembrance Christ gave to His Church.

Installment 34: A New Millennium

The Great Schism and its aftermath.

        We pick up where we left off last installment with the pontificate of Pope Saint Leo IX who had been elected March 12, 1949. During his eight year pontificate, this humble, holy Sovereign Pontiff would not compromise the Faith and consequentially had no choice but to issue an edict of excommunication to Michael Cerularius who sought to break the Greek Church from the Latin Church. It was delivered after his death, thus marking the beginning of the Great Schism. How ironic that 946 years later our current Holy Father Pope John Paul II was joined by a leading member of the Eastern Orthodox Church in an ecumenical event of great significance yesterday at St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, extending hope to all that someday soon the two Churches will be reunited. Today we are going to study the five Popes and two antipopes between St. Leo IX and the great Pope Saint Gregory VII who we will cover in the next installment.

        As we indicated last installment, St. Leo IX was of Alsace-Lorraine nationality and assumed the papal throne on March 12, 1049 after a nine-month vacancy. Unlike so many of his predecessors, there was no outside pressures for his election and he was freely elected jointly by the clergy and the Roman people. In entering Rome to be crowned, he showed the world he was the servant of the servants for, in humble submission to God and the people, he donned the garb of a hermit and walked bare-foot to St. Peter's. He chose the name Leo to reinstate the purity of the early Church. He illustrated this by calling his first synod a month later in April where he chastised anyone who would even think of simony and clerical unchastity. He didn't hesitate to depose a number of simoniacal bishops. Three of his greatest allies in carrying out his decrees were three men from Lorraine: Frederick of Liege who would go on to become Pope Stephen IX, Cardinal Humbert of Moyenmoutier who would become Leo's closest advisor and his secretary of state, and a humble and wise monk named Hildebrand who would go on to become the great Pope Saint Gregory VII. Leo also had the wise counsel of the Benedictine Saint Peter Damiani who would be made a cardinal by Stephen IX but in truth chose to remain a simple monk who would eventually be declared a Doctor of the Church.

        While Leo was working on internal affairs, larger external affairs could not be ignored. These were the invasion of the Normans in Sicily and south Italy and in May, 1053 he ill-advisedly led an army against the Normans, thinking the Byzantines Emperor would come to his assistance on the eastern flank. But they never did. He suffered a devastating defeat near Civitate and was captured on June 18, 1053. Though the Normans treated him fairly in incarcerating him for nine months, it went from bad to worse when the Byzantine Emperor retaliated against Leo because he had interferred in southern Italy which had been claimed by the Eastern Empire. The anti-Latin Patriarch Cerularius, a fanatic from the outset, reacted vehemently and shut down all the Latin churches in Constantinople as well as initiating an even greater attack on the teachings of the Western Church, demeaning Rome's use of unleavened bread for hosts. Cardinal Humbert, on behalf of the imprisoned Pontiff, sought to argue the case for Rome and traveled to Constantinople relying on the ancient Donation of Constantine to back his arguments. But it proved a dismal failure. Meanwhile, because of political pressure and in an effort to patch things up the Eastern Emperor freed St. Leo in January 1054 and he was returned to Rome but not allowed to travel to Constantinople. It wouldn't really matter for Leo would die on April 19, 1054 at the age of only 52 from complications brought on by his imprisonment.

        With no Pope on the throne, Cardinal Humbert, though not the Sovereign Pontiff, carried out the wishes of the dead Pope and returned in the summer of 1054. When once again Cerularius balked, things deteriorated quickly; so much so that on July 16, 1054, at Leo's previous orders, Cardinal Humbert placed the edict of excommunication on Cerularius and his followers before a packed congregation by setting a bull on the altar of the Hagia Sophia Cathedral. A week later Cerularius shot back with his own excommunication on July 24, 1054 and thus was born the Great East-West Schism that continues to this day.

        It wasn't until the following spring on April 13, 1055 that another Supreme Pontiff was chosen, again through the influence of Henry III the Holy Roman Emperor who chose his fourth German Pope. He was Count Hartwig Gebhard from Bavaria who had greatly opposed Leo's military endeavors. When he assumed the papacy he took the name Pope Victor II. Two months after being named the 153rd successor of Peter, he and Henry jointly called a Synod at Florence where it was clear Henry's intent was to gain political clout in Italy. Another insurrection ensued with the Normans and Victor had to turn to Henry for alliance against this threat that forced Frederick of Liege's brother Godfrey to flee for his life while his wife and children were captured. Frederick resigned his post as Chancellor of the Church and retreated to Monte Cassino to live out his life as a monk, leaving Victor virtually defenseless. This became even more apparent when Henry died on October 5, 1056 unable to come to Victor's aid though Victor was able to bless the Emperor on his death bed. Victor held two more synods, one at the Lateral in April 1057 in which he promoted Frederick to abbot at the Benedictine monastery as well as a cardinal; the second at Arezzo on July 23, 1057. Less than a week later he caught a deadly fever and passed away on July 28, 1057.

        Victor was followed by Frederick who came out of the monastery to become the next Pope after suggesting five names, two of which were his dear friends Hildebrand and Cardinal Humbert. But when the electors clamored for him to take the papal reigns he accepted, taking the name

    Pope Stephen IX because he was elected on the feast of Saint Stephen the first martyr on August 2, 1957. His pontificate lasted less than a year and had he lived longer it is possible he could have done more to raise the moral standards of the clergy which he established as his main goal, beginning at his beloved Monte Cassino where he tried to reinstate the holy rule of poverty. Like Leo and Victor, Stephen leaned heavily on Humbert and Hildebrand. Knowing he was dying he traveled to Florence to meet with his brother Godfrey who had regained control of central Italy. Before he had left he had decreed that no successor could be elected until Hildebrand returned from Germany and his meeting with the new German Emperor Henry IV. He died in Florence on March 29, 1058.

        Meanwhile back in Rome, while his clergy were loyal to Stephen's wish, some Roman families weren't and once again created havoc by electing their own antipope Benedict X who was thrust on the throne on April 5, 1058 though he never wanted it. When Hildebrand returned in the fall of 1058 the cardinals convened and elected Gerard of Lorraine as the 155th in the line of Peter on December 6, 1058. He chose the name Pope Nicholas II and didn't take office until January 24, 1058 because of the problems with Benedict. His first act was to call a synod at Sutri where Benedict stepped aside, clearing the way for Nicholas II to return to Rome. He called a subsequent in on April 13, 1059 at the Lateran in which was decreed that future elections of the Pope should be made first by the cardinals, then approved by the eligible clergy and finally the approval of the people to prevent the power of the Roman families from establishing their own on the papal throne. This decree established the inital College of Cardinals which in future years would eliminate the role of clergy and the people and leave the elections exclusively to the Sacred Conclave of cardinals. He also forbade the investiture of bishops without the Holy See approving, thus ruling out lay investiture, a sticky issue for centuries. He also sought reconciliation with the Normans in an attempt to reunify Italy and to seek peace at the recommendation of the peacemaker Hildebrand. Like many of his predecessors, Nicholas' pontificate was short lived for he died on July 27, 1061.

        Once again the cardinals convened, this time free of interference from outside and they chose Hildebrand, but the latter respectfully declined and they compromised on Cardinal Anselm who became Pope Alexander II on September 30, 1061. Unfortunately, the German court was somehow not aware or did not acknowledge Nicholas' decrees of election of Popes and therefore offered their own - Honorius II who was elected antipope on October 28, 1061. Alexander was born in Milan and politics was not his cup of tea for he was more intent on religious matters which is not a slam against him, just an indication of how the opposition was able to gain the upper hand because of his naievete to manipulations going on. Alexander leaned heavily on St. Peter Damiani's counsel and this is another reason he leaned so heavily toward spiritual affairs. He took great strides to reform the clergy in France, reinforcing the repentence of Berengar of Tours as to the real presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. Tumult ensued when Henry IV tried to nominate Godfrey as the new Archbishop of Milan and Alexander fell back on the lay investiture decree that demanded papal approval. When Rome rejected Henry's selection, bad blood evolved between the two since the latter had supported Honorius but Alexander's gentle ways won the people over and on May 31, 1065 Honorius was driven out after he had caused havoc by attacking Rome and seizing the impregnable Castel Sant'Angelo. A Synod was called by the German bishops who, hearing the pros for Alexander by St. Peter Damiani, decided in the legitimate Pope's favor. Unlike his predecessors, Alexander enjoyed a longer pontificate - twelve years. During that time he had turned his attention eastward in an effort to reconcile with Constantinople, the first Pope to do so since Leo IX, but sadly nothing ever came of it - the chasm was that deep. He died on April 21, 1073 paving the way for the man who the cardinals had wanted to be Pope for many years - Hildebrand - the holy monk who would reform the Church as Pope Saint Gregory VII.

Next Wednesday: Installment Thirty-five: The new Gregorian influence.

January 19, 2000
volume 11, no. 13

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