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FINANCES 147

issue warnings against estrangement from the innermost meaning and spirit of the Church.

The freedom of the clergy, the liberation of the bishops from im- plication in the political aspects of their benefices, constantly remained the imperative concern of the Curia. In addition it struggled to free its celibate vassals from dependence on secular justice and from the obliga- tion to pay secular taxes and tithes. The centralistic administration became more and more marked; and the growing resemblance be- tween the Curia and a state compelled it to reckon 'with the most ele- mentary obligation that rests on every political organism the ad- ministration of finances. The income from patrimonies, other revenue, the taxes levied after the close of the twelfth century for the Crusades, the interest received from benefices, the tithes from monasteries and dependent churches, and the gifts which the whole of Christendom had to offer in response to various Papal claims, exacted a well-planned, centralistic management by the Camera Apostolica. Toward the close of the thirteenth century, this well-organized but also well-hated system of assessments and assessors, which took precedence over the bishops and other local dignitaries, rendered the Papacy financially superior to the great European states. During this time the tithe, which was levied universally throughout Christendom, alone brought in three times more than the income of the French crown. In part the money was paid out for expenditures incurred during the Crusades by spiritual and temporal princes, who meanwhile thought as little about how they spent the money as did the Popes themselves, who made use of their riches as they saw fit in carrying out their political plans, however opposed these might be to the tax-payers' interests. The great role played by the Papacy in the history of medieval bank- ing and credit met its appointed end in the catastrophe of 1300, when the bankrupt Curia was transferred into the realm of its French fore- closer, who had felt that its tax policy was injurious to his government.

The Papacy needed stronger forces than jurisprudence and politi- cal economy if it hoped to bind the world to its throne. These forces were: the inner vitality of the Church, and its power to breathe a soul into the spiritual, intellectual and actual work of Christendom. These forces were missing at no time during the Middle Ages; and though


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