Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/72

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52
THE CHURCH.

depicted the Church it appeared to all the men of the time who had the clearest insight and the loftiest aspirations ; and its repul- siveness must be understood by those who would understand the movements that agitated Christendom.

No more unexceptionable witness as to the Church of the twelfth century can be had than St. Bernard, and he is never weary of denouncing the pride, the wickedness, the ambition, and the lust that reigned everywhere. When fornication, adultery, incest, palled upon the exhausted senses, a zest was sought in deeper depths of degradation. In vain the cities of the plain were destroyed by the avenging fire of heaven ; the enemy has scattered their remains everywhere, and the Church is infected with their accursed ashes. The Church is left poor and bare and miserable, neglected and bloodless. Her children seek not to bedeck, but to spoil her ; not to guard her, but to destroy her ; not to defend, but to expose ; not to institute, but to prostitute ; not to feed the flock, but to slay and devour it. They exact the price of sins and give no thought to sinners. Whom can you show me among the prelates who does not seek rather to empty the pockets of his flock than to subdue their vices?" St. Bernard's contemporary, Pot ho of Pruhm, in 1152, voices the same complaints. The Church is rushing to ruin, and not a hand is raised to stay its downward progress ; there is not a single priest fitted to rise up as a media- tor between God and man and approach the divine throne with an appeal for mercy.[1]

The papal legate. Cardinal Henry of Albano, in his Encyclical letter of 1188 to the prelates of Germany, is equally emphatic though less eloquent. The triumph of the Prince of Darkness is to be expected in view of the depravity of the clergy — their luxury, their gluttony, their disregard of the fasts, their holding of pluralities, their hunting, hawking, and gambling, their trading and their quarrels, and, chief of aU, their incontinence, whence the wrath of God is provoked to the highest degree and the worst scandals are created between the clergy and the people. Peter Cantor, about


  1. S. Bernard! Serm. de Conversione cap. 19,30, — Ejusd. Serm. 77 in Cantica cap. 1. — Cf. Ejusd. Serm. 33 in Cantica cap. 16 ; Tract, de Moribus et Offic. Episc. cap. vii. No. 25, 27, 28.— De Consideratione Lib. iii. cap. 4, 5. — Fothon. Prumiens. de Statu Domus Dei Lib. i.