Pope Gregory Vii Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Pope Gregory Vii?
Pope Gregory VII was a significant religious leader of the 11th century who had a profound impact on the Catholic Church and European society. He is remembered for his part in the Gregorian Reforms, which reorganized the Church and attempted to limit clerical corruption. His papacy began in 1073, and he held power until his death in 1085. Gregory VII was born Hildebrand of Sovana to a family of minor nobility in Tuscany, Italy. As a young man, he became a monk at Cluny Abbey before joining Pope Leo IX as an advisor and secretary. When Leo IX died in 1054, Hildebrand succeeded him as Pope Gregory VII. The Church was rife with corruption when Gregory took over as pope; simony (selling church offices) was rampant, bishops were appointed without consideration of their qualifications or piety, and laymen were often able to pressure clergy into doing what they wanted. In response, Gregory issued several decrees aimed at curbing these abuses. He declared that only God could appoint bishops or other church officials; that all priests must be celibate; that lay investiture (the practice of lay people appointing bishops) should be abolished; and that church property should not be sold or misused by anyone except members of the clergy. Additionally, he called for periodic synods where issues related to faith could be discussed openly and honestly by all parties involved. While these reforms did not end all corruption within the Church hierarchy immediately, it laid the groundwork for future reformers like St Bernard of Clairvaux to address these issues more thoroughly later on down the line. Gregory’s reforms also shifted power away from secular rulers such as Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV who had previously been able to influence appointments within the Church hierarchy for their own gain – something which greatly angered Henry IV who eventually declared war on Rome in 1075 (the Investiture Controversy). Despite being excommunicated by Gregory during this conflict, Henry IV eventually submitted his penance at Canossa Castle three years later following an intense period of prayerful reflection – bringing an end to this particular conflict while reinforcing papal authority over spiritual matters throughout Europe moving forward.