Discuss some of the reforms taking place in the Roman Catholic Church in the 11th and 12th centuries.
What problems did the church face? Did these reforms solve the problems? How should these problems
have been addressed?
The Gregorian Reform is the expansion of papal power under Pope Gregory VII.
Pope Gregory VII
continued the efforts led by his predecessor Pope Leo IX to change the way the Roman Catholic Church
operated in the 11
During this time popes and bishops were appointed soley on the
purpose of gaining political advancement.
Church were sold politically through simony leading the clergy
to have little to no spiritual guidance, but instead producing low moral standards aimed at monetary
These reforming popes created the College of Cardinals, a special group of high clergy with the
authority to elect the pope and govern the church. Pope Gregory VII also sought to prohibit clerical
marriage and if individuals disagreed in doing so the individual would be excommunicated.
Gregorian Reform sought to bring an end to lay investiture, selection of church officials by secular
authority, and the lavish life styles of those appointed.
The Monastic Reform began with as in the Gregorian Reform the lay man were appointing the leaders of
the monasteries and taking their revenues while aiding in the decline of spiritual and intellectual activity.
In 909 Duke William declared that all monasteries would be under the control of the pope thus bringing
stability to the monasteries.
As the monasteries flourished with religious and intellectual influence they
were showered with gifts from laypeople, leading them back to the lavish lifestyle the once lived.
lavishness grew, the spirituality declined resulting in more reform.
These reforms did not solve the problems in the Roman Catholic Church because as religion and
spirituality rose, so did the monetary gains.
These monetary gains would then hinder the growth of
This cause great criticism from citizens who thought clerical poverty let to pure spirituality.
These problems that plagued the Roman Catholic Church could only be addressed through more reform
which would continually cause more criticism and yet more reform.