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CATASTROPHE

the Imperial idea. The Curia set its centralism and fiscalism in their stiffest versions against the objective of the states, which was to in- corporate the Church and the clergy politically, economically and morally in their organisms. These two evils clung together, under- mining the Papacy and the Church alike, and gradually turning out to be the causes that led to the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Dante described the transition of the Curia into a dependency of France in allegorical terms. Beatrice, who here images -the spiritual power of the Church, steps from the chariot of the ecclesia triumphant and reminds the poet of the great events which have taken place in post- apostolic times. The eagle of the Holy Roman Empire fills the vehicle with its feathers (which are the donations made to the Roman See) , but at the same time there cling to all sides of the chariot the monstrous beasts of the seven capital sins. The place which Beatrice has aban- doned is taken by an unworthy Pope at whose side there stands the giant France, who by turns caresses and strikes him and finally drives the chariot off into the woods the exile of Avignon. The "ditty work" began with a "a shepherd without a law."

This was Clement V (13051314) , a valiant promoter of learning,, but a Pontiff of feeble policy. He himself was sickly and no match for the ruthless King, He had left the Papal treasure behind at Assisi and sometimes thought of going back to Rome. But his fear of the tumults in that city, as well as the will of Philippe, bound him to his more peaceful habitat above the blue Rhone. There he suc- cumbed to the "Clementine Fair" haggling over ecclesiastical posi- tions and dignities. He wasted on relatives and flatterers the money which his Christendom had given for a Crusade. He made friends among the princes instead of striving to rehabilitate the Papal finances, which had been utterly undermined by the events of Anagni. All banks refused to extend credit. At Avignon he also assented to all the moral demands of the Colonna, lifted or softened the bulls which his predecessor had directed at France, and through his cowardly "yes" and "amen" kept alive the fight which the vengeful King was making on Boniface, who now that he was dead was also to be damned as a heretic. Through this the King finally brought about the destruction of the Knights Templar, found guilty or every vice and sacrilege by a committee of the Inquisition, and so gained for himself a neat fortune.


CLEMENT