Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul 2016 Who we are We are Catholic Distance University, the global, online, learning community. Here at CDU we offer Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in theology as well as continuing education for students all over the world. At CDU you will gain a highly respected degree as well as knowledge that will enhance your spiritual life and loving service to others. CDU... Always Catholic, Always Online What this Quarterly is Digital Continent is a web based magazine dedicated to CDU’s Master’s students and their outstanding efforts at theological scholarship. The Master’s theses published in these pages are the culmination of years of careful study of the Word of God and the sources of Sacred Tradition. Please take time to peruse these pages and share them with others. Editor's Note Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul In one of the most famous moments in all of medieval and even papal history, the German King Henry IV - the future Holy Roman Emperor - crossed the Alps in the deep of winter in late January 1077 and presented himself at the gates of the fortress of Canossa. For three days, Henry stood in the snow, barefoot and shivering, and waited for admittance by Pope St. Gregory VII who had received protection from the castle's owner, Countess Matilda of Tuscany. At last, the pope accepted the sincerity of King Henry and lifted a ban of excommunication he had imposed on the German ruler. Pope Gregory and Henry IV had arrived at this dramatic point because of one of the great plagues of the Church at the time: Investiture. Henry, like so many other feudal lords, insisted that he had the right to invest abbots and bishops with their rings and staffs of office, receiving from them personal homage before the new prelate could be consecrated. The custom was long-standing and was closely associated with lay patronage, but it also epitomized the immense dangers of having lay rulers dominate the Church. Thus, when reform arrived in the Church in the 11th century, Investiture was uppermost in the minds of reforming popes and their supporters. The Investiture Controversy, however, proved difficult to resolve as secular rulers enjoyed the idea of control over prelates who had as landholders become key figures in the social system of the time - feudalism. The popes were also no exceptions, and in the centuries before Gregory VII and the party of reform in the Church, the papacy had suffered cruelly at the hands of grasping and cruel temporal rulers who deposed and even murdered popes to advance their own ambitions. Between 896 and 904, for example, ten popes were elected, of whom one was strangled and two died from unknown causes in prison; Pope Benedict IX served as pope three different times. The era was what a 16th century Church historian named Cardinal Cesare Baronius called the Iron Age of the Papacy. All of this had to end if authentic reform could be launched. It had to start with the papacy. As St. Peter Damian wrote, “If Rome does not come back to a better way, the world will remain plunged in error. The reform must start from Rome as from the cornerstone of salvation.” In 1059, Pope Nicholas II attacked the practice of investiture, followed by Pope Gregory VII, who issued a decree forbidding it. The struggle that ensued with secular rulers was centered mainly around the German kings and the popes, especially Emperors Henry IV and Henry V. But it was a bitter conflict at times. Even Henry IV's humiliation at Canossa proved a temporary setback for him, and years would pass until a final resolution could be achieved through the Concordat of Worms in 1122. The path of reform through the Investiture Controversy is an important one. Secular interference in Church life and the need for Catholics to be vigilant in defense of the rights of the Church are not a thing of the past as today's debates about religious liberty can attest. For that reason, CDU is very pleased to present in this issue of Digital Continent the M.A. thesis, “Pope St. Gregory VII: Catalyst of Medieval Church Reform on the Eve of the Investiture Controversy,” by recent graduate Mary M. French. Mary presents a potent picture of the battle for the rights of the Church at a time when reform was badly needed. Pope St. Gregory VII was a complex figure who gave his very life to bring reform and end Investiture. He famously declared on his deathbed, “Dilexi iustitiam et odivi iniquitatem propterea morior in exilio” (“I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile”). Her thesis is worth reading, especially as history has a way of repeating itself. Matthew E. Bunson, Ph.D. Faculty Chair Catholic Distance University Continue Editor's Note here Continue Editor's Note here Continue Editor's Note here About the Author Mary French Mary French is a member of St. Kilian Parish and resides in Mars, PA. She returned to the Pittsburgh area where she grew up after 25 years as a military spouse, raising a family through many moves and various deployment cycles. She earned a Bachelor's of Science in European History and a Master's degree in International Studies from Troy State University, AL. while stationed at Fort Rucker. She has worked as a college instructor teaching history for various institutions wherever the military sent her family and also served as Religious Education Coordinator and Pastoral Associate for the Catholic community at Fort Drum, NY. Desiring a better understanding and appreciation of Catholicism she pursued and in 2015 earned a Masters in Theology from Catholic Distance University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She is currently a part-time workshop presenter for Saint Paul of the Cross Monastery Retreat Center in Pittsburgh and has begun the formation process for the Associate program at the Monastery. She also serves as a member of the Ladies of Charity and assists with the R.C.I. A. program at her parish.