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The Gregorian Reform and the Growth of Papal Supremacy,1049-1159RichardAbelsOVERVIEW AND GENERAL THESIS:The eleventh- and twelfth-century papacy's attack on the clerical abuses ofsimony, clerical marriage, and lay investiture is sometimes called theGregorianReform(afterPope Gregory VII, 1073-1085), even though this reform movementhad begun earlier withPope Leo IX(1049-1054). "Simony" (named after SimonMagus from the Acts of the Apostles) was the practice of purchasing spiritualoffices/church positions. Clerical marriage was the practice of priests marrying. By1050 both were regarded by monastic reformers as serious abuses among the secularclergy (i.e. the priesthood). Reformers, influenced by the rise of a commercialeconomy, interpreted as simony the traditional practice of bishops thanking with giftsthe kings and princes who had appointed them to their sees. The older view was that itwas simply good manners (the reciprocity of gift-giving).The Gregorian Reform gave rise to the“Investiture Controversy” (1075-1122).Lay investiture was the practice of laypeople (non-clergy) “investing”ecclesiastical (Church) officers with the symbols of their spiritual offices and powersand, by implication, with the offices themselves. ("Invest" in this sense means to givesomeone the symbols of office; "investiture" is similar to the military practice of“frocking,” in which an officer selected for promotion pins on the symbols of his orher new rank.) The accepted practice in the early middle ages was for a powerfullayperson, usually a king or emperor, to confer upon a newly “elected” bishop thesymbols of his episcopal office: a crozier (shepherd’s crook), symbolizing his pastoralduties, and a ring, symbolizing his marriage to the Church. According to canon law,bishops were supposed to be elected by the clergy of the diocese and approved by thelaity in their diocese. In practice, anointed kings, claiming to be God’s vicars,appointed bishopsand“invested” them with the symbols of their spiritual (spiritualia)and temporal (regalia) authority. As Warren Hollister put it, “Gregory attacked thiscustom of lay investiture as a crucial symbol of inappropriate lay authority overclergy. His attack was a challenge to the social order and a threat to the authority ofevery ruler in Western Christendom.” (Medieval Europe: A Short History, 9thedn,2002, p. 208).Although the practice of lay investiture was first banned by Pope Nicholas II in1059, what historians call the Investiture Controversy dates from 1075, whenPopeGregory VII(1073-1085) renewed the ban, along with prohibitions on simony(purchasing church offices) and marriage of priests, in conjunction with a dispute
withKing Henry IV of Germany(1056-1106) over rival claimants to the episcopalsee of Milan.The underlying issue of the Investiture Controversy was lay controlover the appointment of bishops and abbots. Bishops, in particular, possessedjurisdictional authority over extensive territories and lands (symbolized by theirregalia). Rulers in the eleventh century (and throughout the middle ages) depended