Thursday, May 27, 2004

St. Gregory VII

I also missed posing anything on the feast of Pope St. Gregory VII, the great Hildebrand. A reforming pope, indeed.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says of him:

But whatever the personal feelings and anxieties of Gregory may have been in taking up the burden of the papacy at a time when scandals and abuses were everywhere pressing into view, the fearless pontiff felt not a moment's hesitation as to the performance of his duty in carrying out the work of reform already begun by his predecessors. Once securely established on the Apostolic throne, Gregory made every effort to stamp out of the Church the two comsuming evils of the age, simony and clerical incontinency, and, with characteristic energy and vigor, laboured unceasingly for the assertion of those lofty principles with which he firmly believed the welfare of Christ's Church and the regeneration of society itself to be inseparably bound up.

An acquaintance of mine currently studying in Rome holds him in high esteem and mentioned to me that he is the pope who currently holds the record for having fired* more bishops than any other pontiff. I have no doubt that the high esteem of my friend and the record held by the saintly pontiff are entirely unconnected. No doubt at all.

*Surely "fired" can't be the right word? Unfrocked? Un-mitred? De-throned? Uninstalled? Deposed? Unepiscopocized? Some blogger recently posted a ritual for this. No doubt that has the correct word. If I could remember where I saw it. . . .