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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/566

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BERNARD


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BERNARD


The influence of the Abbot of Clairvaux was soon felt in provincial affairs. He defer ded the rights of the Church against the encroachments of kings and princes, and recalled to their duty Henry, Arch- bishop of Sens, and Stephen de Senlis, Bishop of Paris. On the death of Honorius II, which occurred on the 14th of February, 1130, a schism broke out in the Church by the election of two popes. Inno- cent II and Anacletus II. Innocent II having been banished from Rome by Anacletus took refuge in France. King Louis le Gros convened a national council of the French bishops at Etampes, and Ber- nard, summoned thither by consent of the bishops, was chosen to judge between the rival popes. He decided in favour of Innocent II, caused him to be recognized by all the great Catholic powers, went with him into Italy, calmed the troubles that agitated the country, reconciled Pisa with Genoa, and Milan with the pope and Lothaire. According to the desire of the latter, the pope went to Liege to consult with the emperor upon the best means to be taken for his return to Rome, for it was there that Lothaire was to receive the imperial crown from the hands of the pope. From Liege, the pope re- turned to France, paid a visit to the Abbey of St. Denis, and then to Clairvaux where his reception was of a simple and purely religious character. The whole pontifical court was touched by the saintly demeanour of this band of monks. In the refectory only a few common fishes were found for the pope, and instead of wine, the juice of herbs was served for drink, says an annalist of Citeaux. It was not a table feast that was served to the pope and his fol- lowers, but a feast of virtues. The same year Ber- nard was again at the Council of Reims at the side of Innocent II, whose oracle he was; and then in Aquitaine where he succeeded for the time in de- taching William, Count of Poitiers, from the cau.se of Anacletus.

In 1132, Bernard accompanied Innocent II into Italy, and at Cluny the pope abolished the dues which Clair\'aux used to pay to this celebrated abbey — an action which gave rise to a quarrel between the "White Monks" and the "Black Monks" which lasted twenty years. In the month of May the pope, supported by the army of Lothaire, entered Rome. but Lothaire, feeling himself too weak to resist the partisans of Anacletus, retired beyond the Alps, and Innocent sought refuge in Pisa in September, 1133. In the meantime the abbot had returned to France in June, and was continuing the work of jieacemaking which he had commenced in 1130. Towards the end of 1134, he made a second journey into Aquitaine, where William X had relapsed into schism. This would have died out of itself if William could have been detached from the cause of Gerard, who had usurped the See of Bordeaux and retained that of Angouleme. Bernard invited William to the Mass which he celebrated in the Church of La Couldre. At the moment of the Communion, placing the Sacred Host upon the paten, he went to the door of the church where William was, and pointing to the Host, he adjured the Duke not to despise God as he did His servants. William yielded and the schism ended. Bernard went again to Italy, where Roger of Sicily was endeavouring to withdraw the Pisans from their allegiance to Innocent. He re- called the city of Milan, which had been deceived and misled by the ambitious prelate Anselm, Arcli- bishop of Milan, to obedience to the pope, refused the Archbishopric of Milan, and returned finally to Clairvaux. Believing himself at last secure in his cloister Bernard devoted himself with renewed vigour to the composition of those pious and learned works which have won for him the title of "Doctor of the Church". He wrote at this time his sermons on the "Canticle of Canticles".


In 1137 he was again forced to leave his solitude by order of the pope to put an end to the quarrel between Lothaire and Roger of Sicily. At the con- ference held at Palermo, Bernard succeeded in con- vincing Roger of the rights of Innocent II and in silencing Peter of Pisa who sustained Anacletus. The latter died of grief and disappointment in 1138, and with him the schism. Returning to Clairvaux, Bernard occupied himself in sending bands of monks from his too-crowded monastery into Germany, Sweden, England, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, and Italy. Some of these, at the command of Inno- cent II, took possession of Three Fountains Abbey, near the Salvian Waters in Rome, from which Pope Eugenius III was chosen. Bernard resumed his commentary on the "Canticle of Canticles", as- sisted in 1139, at the Second General Lateran Council and the Tenth Ecumenical, in which the surviving adherents of the schism were definitively condemned. About the same time, Bernard was visited at Clair- vaux by St. Malachi, metropolitan of the Church in Ireland, and a very close friendship was formed between them. St. Malachi would gladly have taken the Cistercian habit, but the sovereign pontiff would not give his permission. He died, however, at Clair- vaux in 1148.

In the year 1140, we find Bernard engaged in other matters which disturbed the peace of the Church. Towards the close of the eleventh century, the schools of philosophy and theology, dominated by the passion for discussion and a spirit of independence which had introduced itself into political and religious questions, became a veritable public arena, with no other motive than that of ambition. This ex- altation of hmnan reason and rationalism found an ardent and powerful adherent in Abelard, the most eloquent and learned man of the age after Bernard. "The history of the calamities and the refutation of his doctrine by St. Bernard", says Ratisbonne, "form the greatest episode of the twelfth century". Abelard's treatise on the Trinity had been condemned in 1121, and he himself had thrown his book into the fire. But in 1139 he advocated new errors. Bernard, informed of this by William of St. Thierry, wrote to Abelard who answered in an insulting manner. Bernard then denounced him to the pope who caused a general council to be held at Sens. Abelard asked for a public discussion with Bernard; the latter showed his opponent's errors with such clearness and force of logic that he was unable to make any reply, and was obliged, after being condemned, to retire. The pope confirmed the judgment of the council, Abelard submitted without resistance, and retired to Cluny to live under Peter the Venerable, where he died two years later.

Innocent 11 died in 1143. His two successors, Celestin II and Lucius, reigned only a short time, and then Bernard saw one of his disciples, Bernard of Pisa, Abbot of Three Fountains, and known there- aftei as Eugenius III, raised to the Chair of St. Feter. Bernard sent him, at his own recjuest, various in- structions which compose the "Book of Considera- tion", the predominating idea of which is that the reformation of the Church ought to commence with the sanctity of its head. Temporal matters are merely accessories; the principal are piety, medita- tion, or consideration, which ought to precede action. The book contains a most beautiful page on the papacy, and has always been greatly esteemed by the sovereign pontiffs, many of whom used it for their ordinary reading.

Alarming news came at this time from the East. Edessa had fallen into the hands of the Turks, and Jerusalem and Antioch were threatened with similar disaster. Deputations of the bishops of Armenia solicited aid from the pope, and the King of France also sent ambassadors. The pope commissioned