Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/194

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legates and the Cistercian missionaries failed miserably. It was their fault that armed conflict ensued. Then the Crusade, which the Pope endorsed only on the provision that it would merely dispossess and drive out the heretics, became, despite the religious earnestness of many knights, a deplorable war of conquest carried on by French barons against the landed nobility of the south. While its devilish work was proceeding in the name of Christ, Dominic Guzman, who had crossed the Pyrenees 'with his Bishop Diego, organized spiritual resistance. In conformity with a religious ideal of poverty which had made an increasingly deep impression on Catholic countries since the close of the twelfth century, he opposed to the successful educa- tional work done by the Albigensian women a new Catholic force, the nucleus of which was the Society of cloistered women of Prouillc (1206). Later (1215) he founded in Toulouse a company of thor- oughly educated preachers, whose function it was to train the people to combat heresy. This work was authorized during the following year by Pope Honorius III, but not until 1220 did Dominic's group follow the example of the Franciscans and become a Mendicant Order. This Spaniard of German ancestry had a worthy companion in his apostolic labour Francis, the son of an Umbrian merchant. Mod- em times, which derive a picture of Francis from the Fioretti alone, do not quite know him. He was more than a troubadour of heavenly love and a gentle friend to all living creatures. Under the cover of gold and azure paint which later rimes have laid over him, there is hidden the original a strong, unflinching man of action who con- fronted the Church and the uncouth feudalism of his time with the simple, uncompromising force of the Gospel. Courageously he read the Sermon on the Mount to Popes and prelates, insisting that decre- tals and texts of canon law must not consign it to oblivion. The Wolf of Gubbio, whom he forbade to plunder, is only a symbol of the barons to whom he preached his sermon of justice with burning pas- sion. He lived for the Church which had forgotten the humble and all those oppressed by feudal rules. For the sake of these disinherited ones as well as for that of their brutal masters, he himself lived the poor life of Christ. His rule sundered him and his "company" from the evil powers of the time, from money, sensuality, arrogance, barbarism, sloth and forgetfulness of God. "The rule and life of these brethren"