Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/30

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10
THE CHURCH

leading families. By such methods as we have seen they passed into the hands of those whose training had been military rather than religious. The mitre and cross had no more scruple than the knightly pennon to be seen in the forefront of battle. When excommunication failed to bring to reason restless vassals or encroaching neighbors, there was prompt recourse to the fleshly arm, and the plundered peasant could not distinguish between the ravages of the robber baron and of the representative of Christ. One of the early adventures of Rodolph of Hapsburg, by which, he won the reputation which elevated him to the imperial throne, was the war declared by Walter, Bishop of Strassburg, against his burghers, because they had refused to aid him in gratuitously interfering in a quarrel between the Bishop of Metz and a troublesome noble. As they disregarded his excommunication. Bishop Walter attacked them vigorously, when they placed themselves under the command of Rodolph, and utterly defeated their pastor, after a war which desolated every portion of Alsace. The chronicles of the period are full of details of this nature. Worldly and turbulent, there was little to differentiate the prelate from the baron, and the latter had no more scruple in making reprisals on Church property than on secular possessions. In the dissensions which reduced the wealthy Abbey of St. Tron to beggary, the pious Godfrey of Bouillon, shortly before the crusade which won for him the throne of Jerusalem, ravaged the abbey lands with fire and sword. The people, on whom fell the crushing weight of these conflicts, could only look upon the baron and priest as enemies both ; and whatever might be lacking in the military ability of the spiritual warriors, was compensated for by their seeking to kill the souls as well as the bodies of their foes. This was especially the case in Germany, where the prelates were princes as well as priests, and where a great religious house like the Abbey of St. Gall was the temporal ruler of the Cantons of St. Gall and Appenzel, until the latter threw off the yoke after a long and devastating war. The historian of the abbey chronicles with pride the martial virtues of successive abbots, and in speaking of Ulric III., who died in 1117, he remarks that, worn out with many battles, he at last passed away in peace. AU this was in some sort a necessity of the incongruous union of feudal noble and Christian prelate, and though more marked in Germany than elsewhere, it