|« Prev||2. Gregory the Great.||Next »|
2. Gregory the Great.
The doctrine of grace taught by Pope Gregory the Great (590 to 604) shows how little Augustinianism was understood in Rome, and how confused theological thought had become in the course of the sixth century. A more motley farrago of Augustinian formulas and crude work-religion (ergismus) could hardly be conceived. Gregory has nowhere uttered an original thought; he has rather at all points preserved, while emasculating, the traditional system of doctrine, reduced the spiritual to the level of a coarsely material intelligence, changed dogmatic, so far as it suited, into technical directions for the clergy, and associated it with popular religion of the second rank. All his institutions were wise and well considered, and yet they sprang from an almost naif monastic soul, which laboured with faithful anxiety at the education of uncivilised peoples, and the training of his clergy, ever adopting what was calculated by turns to disquiet and soothe, and thus to rule the lay world with the mechanism of religion.574574After reading Gregory’s abundant correspondence, we gain a high respect for the wisdom, charity, tolerance, and energy of the Pope. Because Gregory, living in an age when the old was passing away and the new presented itself in a form still rude and disjointed, looked only to what was necessary and attainable, he sanctioned as religion an external legality, as suited to train young nations, as it was adapted to the Epigones of ancient civilisation, who had lost fineness of feeling and thought, were sunk in superstition and magic, and did homage to the stupid ideals of asceticism.575575Yet side by side with this external legality there are not wanting traits of Gospel liberty; see the letters to Augustine. It is the accent that changes the melody, and the tone makes the music. Gregory created the vulgar type of mediæval Catholicism by the way he accented the various traditional doctrines and Church usages,576576So Lau. Gregor d. Grosse, p. 326: “Without perceiving, perhaps, the significance of what he did, he prepared the way for the development of later Catholicism by imperceptibly altering the conception of the tradition received from a preceding age.” and the tone to which he tuned Christian souls is the key we hear echoed by Catholicism down to the present day.577577Gregory was most read of the Western Church Fathers, as the literature of the Middle Ages and our libraries show. Even in the seventh century he was extolled by tasteless and uncritical writers as wiser than Augustine, more eloquent than Cyprian, more pious than Anthony (“nihil illi simile demonstrat antiquitas” Ildefond. de script. I). The voice is the voice of Gregory, and also of Jerome, but the hands are Augustine’s. Only in one respect he was not Augustine’s disciple. Akin to Cyprian and Leo I. and well versed in jurisprudence, he laid stress on the legal element in addition to the ritual and sacramental. Through him the amalgamation of doctrine and Church government made a further advance in the West.578578Lau gives a detailed account of Gregory’s teaching; l.c. pp. 329-556. We see here the extent of Gregory’s dependence on Augustine. He especially lays as great stress on Holy Scripture being the rule of life and doctrine. The most profound of Augustine’s thoughts are touched on, but they are all rendered superficial.
A few lines are sufficient to depict the emasculated Augustinianism represented by Gregory. Reason, science, and philosophy, are more strongly depreciated by him than by Augustine (Evang. II. hom. 26);579579“Fides non habet meritum, cui humana ratio præbet experimentum” (§ 1). Tertullian, certainly, had already said that (Apolog. 21) once. miracle is the distinguishing mark of the religious. Reason can, indeed, establish the existence of God, but it is only “by faith that the way is opened to the vision of God” (per aditum fidei aperitur aditus visionis dei; Ezech. II. hom. 5, following Augustine). The doctrine of angels and the devil comes to the front, because it suited popular and monastic piety. We can call Gregory the “Doctor angelorum et diaboli.” As regards the angels, he took particular delight (see Evang. II. hom. 34) in working out their ranks (under the influence of Greek mysticism), in glorifying Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael—the hero of miracle, the great messenger and warrior against the spirits of the air, and the medicine-man—in the exact division of angelic tasks and the idea of guardian spirits; he held that angels watched over men, as the latter did over cattle. He who thought so little of Græco-Roman culture sanctioned its most inferior parts in his doctrine of the angels. His monkish fancy dealt still more actively in conceptions about the devil and demons, and he gave new life to ideas about Antichrist, who stood already at the door, because the world was near its end. As the Logos had assumed human nature, so the devil would be incarnate at the end of the world (Moral. 31, 24; 13, 10). Before Christ appeared, the devil possessed all men of right, and he still possesses unbelievers. He raged through the latter; but as regarded believers he was a powerless and cheated devil. The doctrines of redemption, justification, grace, and sin show an Augustinianism modified in the interests of miracle, sacred rites and monachism. The God-man—whose mother remained a virgin at and after the birth—was sinless, because he did not come into the world through fleshly lust. He is our redeemer (redemptor) and mediator—these titles being preferred—and he especially propitiated the devil by purchasing men from him with his death,580580The deception theory is thus given by Gregory in its most revolting form. The devil is the fish snapping at Christ’s flesh, and swallowing the hidden hook, his divinity; see Moral. 33, 7, 9. and he abolished the disunion between angels and men. It is also remarked incidentally that Christ bore our punishments and propitiated God’s wrath. But, besides redemption from the devil, the chief thing is deliverance from sin itself. It was effected by Christ putting an end to the punishment of original sin, and also destroying sin itself, by giving us an example.581581Moral. I. 13: “Incarnatus dominus in semetipso omne quod nobis inspiravit ostendit, ut quod præcepto diceret, exemplo suaderet.” II. 24: “Venit inter homines mediator dei et hominum, homo Christus Jesus, ad præbendum exemplum vitæ hominibus simplex, ad non parcendum malignis spiritibus rectus ad debellandum superbiam timens deum, ad detergendam vero in electis suis immunditiam recedens a malo.” This amounts to saying that Christ’s work was incomplete, i.e., that it must be supplemented by our penances, for it transformed the eternal punishment of original sin into temporary penalties, which must be atoned for, and it acts mainly by way of example.582582Lau. p. 434: “The chief stress is placed on instruction and example; reconciliation with God, certainty of which is absolutely necessary to man’s peace of mind, is almost entirely passed over; and deliverance from punishment is inadequately conceived, as referring merely to original sin, or is regarded purely externally. . . . All that Gregory can do to give man peace is to direct him to penance and his good works.” He speaks of even the holiest remaining in constant uncertainty as to their reconciliation. He can make nothing of the thesis that our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. God rather punishes every sin not atoned for by penance, even if he pardons it; see Moral. IX. 34: “Bene dicit Hiob (IX. 28): Sciens quod non parceris delinquenti, quia delicta nostra sive per nos sive per semetipsum resecat, etiam cum relaxat. Ab electis enim suis iniquitatum maculas studet temporali afflictione tergere, quas in eis in perpetuum non vult videre,” In his commentary on 1 Kings (1. IV. 4, 57), which was hardly transcribed indeed in its present form by Gregory himself, we even read: “Non omnia nostra Christus explevit, per crucem quidem suam omnes redemit, sed remansit, ut qui redimi et regnare cum eo nititur, crucifigatur. Hoc profecto residuum viderat, qui dicebat: si compatimur et conregnabimus. Quasi dicat: Quod explevit Christus, non valet nisi ei, qui id quod remansit adimplet.” In fact, in Gregory’s teaching, Christ’s death and penance appear side by side, as two factors of equal value.583583Therefore we find over and over in the Moral. in reference to the expiation of sins: “sive per nos, sive per deum.”
We must remember this, or we may assign too high a value to another line of thought. Gregory regards Christ’s death as an offering (oblatio) for our purification: Christ presents it constantly for us, ever showing God his (crucified) body.584584Moral. i. 24: “Sine intermissione pro nobis holocaustum redemptor immolat, qui sine cessatione patri suam pro nobis incarnationem demonstrat; ipsa quippe ejus incarnatio nostræ emundationis oblatio est; cumque se hominem ostendit, delicta hominis interveniens diluit. Et humanitatis suæ mysterio perenne sacrificium immolat, quia et hæc sunt æterna, quæ mundat.” But this apparently high pitched view after all means very little. It has risen from the observance of the Lord’s Supper. What was constantly done by the priest has been transferred to Christ himself. But both oblations, related as they are to our “purification,” possess their sole value in the mitigation of sin’s penalties. Still another consideration was at work in this case, one that, though relying on Biblical statements, sprang in reality from wholly different sources. It is the conception of Christ’s continual intercession. But this intercession must be combined with the whole apparatus of intercessions (of angels, saints, alms and masses for the dead, which were conceived as personified forces), to see that we are here dealing with a heathen conception, which, though it had indeed long been established in the practice of the Church, was only now elevated into a theory—that of “aids in need.” Gregory’s candid avowal that the death of Christ was not absolutely necessary, showed how indefinite was his view of the part it played in this mediation. As God created us from nothing, he could also have delivered us from misery without Christ’s death. But he willed to show us the greatness of his compassion by taking upon himself that from which he desired to deliver us; he willed to give us an example, that we should not dread the misfortune and miseries of the world, but should avoid its happiness; and he sought to teach us to remember death.585585Moral. 20, 36; 2, 37. Ezek. 1. II. hom. 1, 2. Here occur fine ideas: “Nos minus amasset, nisi et vulnera nostra susciperet” (M. 20, 36). Nor has Gregory yet sketched a theory of Christ’s merit—after the analogy of the merits which we can gain. That was reserved for the Middle Ages; but he has examined Christ’s work from the point of view of masses for the dead and the intercession of saints.
In the doctrines of the primitive state, original sin, sin, faith and grace, the Augustinian formulas are repeated—after the Canons of Orange, without irresistible grace and particular election.586586See the proof of positive points of agreement between Gregory and the Canons of Oranges in Arnold, Cæsarius, p. 369 f. Yet Gregory never himself appealed to those resolutions. But a very real significance was attributed to free-will, which Augustine had abstractly admitted. Here we have the fully developed doctrines of free and prevenient grace, of the primitive state and original sin; (the carnal lust of parents is the cause of our life, therefore the latter is sinful; the “disobedience” or “disorderliness” of the genital organs is the proof of original sin; intercourse in marriage is never innocent). And side by side with all this, we have a calm statement of the doctrine of the will, which is merely weakened, and of free choice (liberum arbitrium) which must follow grace, if the latter is to become operative,587587How could a bishop, who felt himself to be the pastor of all Christendom, have then made pure Augustinianism the standard of all his counsels?—and yet grace is first to determine the will to will. From the first two powers co-operate in all good, since free-will must accept what grace offers. It can therefore be said “that we redeem ourselves because we assent to the Lord redeeming us.”588588Moral. 24, 10; gee also 33, 21; “Bonum quod agimus et dei est et nostrum, dei per prævenientem gratiam, nostrum per obsequentem liberam voluntatem. . . . Si nostrum non est, unde nobis retribui præmia speramus? Quia ergo non immerito gratias agimus, scimus, quod ejus munere prævenimur; et rursum quia non immerito retributionem quærimus, scimus, quod obsequente libero arbitrio bona eligimus, quæ ageremus.” See Ep. III. 29: Christ will comfort us richly at the judgment, when he observes that we have punished our faults by ourselves. Predestination is simply reduced in the case of sinners and elect to prescience, while at the same time it is maintained in other passages that it rests on God’s free power and grace. The latter assumption was necessary, because Gregory also adhered to “a fixed and definite number of the elect”—to supply the place of angels; but ultimately all belong to that number whose perseverance in faith and good works God knew beforehand.
After all, everything spiritual is reduced to the rites of the Church. As in the East, these come to the front; but they are regarded in a different way. In the East more scope is given to religious sentiment, which exalts itself and luxuriates in the whole of the Cultus as a divino-human drama; in the West, as befitted the Roman character, everything is more prosaic and calculating. Man accomplishes and receives; submissive obedience is the chief virtue; merits are rewarded, but on the humble a merit not his own is also bestowed: that is grace. Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and penance are the central points in the legal process of grace. We are baptised: thereby inherited guilt is expiated, and all sins committed before baptism are blotted out; but original sin is not obliterated, and the guilt of later sins remains.589589Moral. IX. 34: “Salutis unda a culpa primi parentis absolvimur, sed tamen reatum ejusdem culpæ diluentes absoluti quoque adhuc carnaliter obimus.” The casuistical treatment of sins is by no means puritanical in Gregory. He displays in this matter a lofty wisdom united with charity, and gives directions which were certainly the best for the circumstances of the time. He says once (Ep. XI. 64): “It is characteristic of pious souls to imagine that they are guilty of faults when there is absolutely none.” It must be cancelled or atoned for. For this there are numerous means, which are as necessary as they are uncertain. A man must make himself righteous; for righteousness is the supreme virtue (radix virtutum). He is instructed to pray, give alms, and mourn over life. But he is further told: “Those who trust in no work of their own run to the protection of the holy martyrs, and throng to their sacred bodies with tears, entreat that they may merit pardon at the intercession of the saints.”590590Moral. XVI. 51: “Hi qui de nullo suo opere confidunt, ad sanctorum martyrum protectionem currunt atque ad sacra eorum corpora fletibus insistunt, promereri se veniam iis intercedentibus deprecantur.” This practice of resorting to saints and relics had existed for a long time, but Gregory has the merit of systematising it, at the same time providing it with abundant material by means of his “Dialogues,” as well as his other writings.591591Similar things to those recorded by Gregory were often narrated at an earlier date; but no Western writer before him had developed these superstitions to such an extent—and he was the most influential bishop. Miracles wrought by relics were to him every-day events; the miraculous power of some was so great that everyone who touched them died. Everything that came in contact with them was magnetised. What powerful intercessors and advocates must then the saints be, when even their bodies did such deeds! Gregory therefore sought to preserve the attachment of influential people by sending relics and—slaves. On pictures, see Ep. IX. 52; IX. 105; XI. 13. A cloud of “mediators” came between God and the soul: angels, saints, and Christ; and men began already to compute cunningly what each could do for them, what each was good for. Uncertainty about God, perverse, monkish humility, and the dread entertained by the poor unreconciled heart of sin’s penalties, threw Christians into the arms of pagan superstition, and introduced the “mediators” into dogmatics. But in terrifying with its principle: “sin is in no case absolved without punishment” (nullatenus peccatum sine vindicta laxatur),592592Moral, IX. 34, or: “delinquenti dominus nequaquam parcit, quia delictum sine ultione non deserit. Aut enim ipse homo in se pænitens punit, aut hoc deus cum homine vindicans percutit.” the Church not only referred men to intercessors, alms, and the other forms of satisfaction, to “masses for the dead,” which obtained an ever-increasing importance, but it even modified hell, placing purgatory in front of heaven; it thereby confused conscience and lessened the gravity of sin, turning men’s interest to sin’s punishment. Gregory sanctioned and developed broadly the doctrine of purgatory,593593See Dial. IV. (25) and 39. After God has changed eternal punishments into temporary, the justified must expiate these temporary penalties for sin in purgatory. This is inferred indirectly from Matth. XII. 31, directly from 1 Cor. III. 12 f. There are perfect men, however, who do not need purgatory. already suggested by Augustine.594594See above, p. 232. The power of the Church, of prayers, and intercessors extended, however, to this purgatory of his.595595Dial. IV. 57: “Credo, quia hoc tam aperte cum viventibus ac nescientibus agitur, ut cunctis hæc agentibus ac nescientibus ostendatur, quia si insolubiles culpæ non fuerint, ad absolutionem prodesse etiam mortuis victima sacræ oblationis possit. Sed sciendum est, quia illis sacræ victimæ mortuis prosint, qui hic vivendo obtinuerunt, ut eos etiam post mortem bona adjuvent, quæ hic pro ipsis ab aliis fiunt.”
The whole life even of the baptised being still stained at least by small sins, their constant attitude must be one of penitence, i.e., they must practise penance, which culminates in satisfactions and invocations to “Aids in need.” Gregory systematised the doctrine of penance in the exact form in which it passed over into the Middle Ages.596596On the older Western order of penance, see Preuschen, Tertullian’s Schriften de pænit. and de pudicit. 1890; Rolff’s Das Indulgenzedict des röm. Bischofs Kallist 1893 (Texte and Unters. Vol. Part 3); Götz, Die Busslehre Cyprian’s 1895; Karl Muller, Die Bussinstitution in Karthago unter Cyprian (Zeitschr. f. K.-Gesch., Vol. 16 [1895-96] p. 1 ff., p. 187 ff.). Penance included four points, perception of sin and dread of God’s judgments, regret (contritio), confession of sin, and satisfaction (satisfactio). The two first could also be conceived as one (conversio mentis).5975971 Reg. 1. VI. 2, 33: “tria in unoquoque consideranda sunt veraciter pænitente, videlicet conversio mentis, confessio oris et vindicta peccati.” Moral 13, 39: “convertuntur fide, veniunt opere, convertuntur deserendo mala, veniunt bona faciendo.” Voluntarily assumed pains constitute satisfactio. The chief emphasis was still held to fall on “conversion,” even penance was not yet attached to the institution of the Church and the priest; but “satisfaction” was necessarily felt to be the main thing. The last word was not indeed yet said; but already the order of penance was taking the place due to faith; nay, it was called the “baptism of tears.”598598Evang. 1. I. hom. 10: “Peccata nostra præterita in baptismatis perceptione laxata sunt, et tamen post baptisma multa commisimus, sed laxari iterum baptismatis aqua non possumus. Quia ergo et post baptisma inquinavimus vitam, baptizemus lacrimis conscientiam.” And the Lord’s Supper was also ultimately drawn into the mechanism of penance. In this case, again, Gregory had only to accentuate what had long been in use. The main point in the Lord’s Supper was that it was a sacrifice, which benefited living and dead as a means of mitigation (laxatio). As a sacrifice it was a repetition of Christ’s—hence Gregory’s development of the ceremonial ritual—and it is self-evident that this was conceived altogether realistically. In this rite (eucharistia, missa, sacrificium, oblatio, hostia, sacramentum passionis, communio), the passion of Christ;599599Evang. 1. II. hom. 37, 7: “Singulariter ad absolutionem nostram oblata cum lacrimis et benignitate mentis sacri altaris hostia suffragatur, quia is, qui in se resurgens a mortuis jam non moritur, adhuc per hanc in suo mysterio pro nobis iterum patitur. Nam quoties ei hostiam suæ passionis offerimus, toties nobis ad absolutionem nostram passionem illius reparamus.” who “is entire in the single portions” (in singulis portionibus totus est), was repeated for our atonement. Yet even here the last word was not yet uttered, transubstantiation was not yet evolved. Indeed, we find, accompanying the above, a view of the Lord’s Supper, which lays stress on our presenting ourselves to God as the victim (the host), in yielding ourselves to him, practising love, rendering daily the sacrifice of tears, despising the world, and—daily offering the host of the body and blood of Christ.600600See Dial. IV. 58, 59. Gregory already laid great stress on the frequency of masses. He also approved of their use to avert temporal sufferings. He tells with approval of a woman having delivered her husband from prison by their means, and he sees in them generally the remedy against all torments in this world and in purgatory. Only to eternal blessedness the mass does not apply.
What has been left here of Augustinianism? All the popular Catholic elements which Augustine thrust aside and in part remodelled have returned with doubled strength! The moral and legal view has triumphed over the religious. What we see aimed at in Cyprian’s work, De opere et eleemosynis, now dominates the whole religious conception, and the uncertainty left by Augustine as to the notion of God, because his ideas regarding God in Christ were only vague, has here become a source of injury traversing the whole system of religion. For what does Gregory know of God? That, being omnipotent, he has an inscrutable will;601601That is the impression that was preserved of Augustine’s doctrine of predestination. being the requiter, he leaves no sin unpunished; and that because he is beneficent, he has created an immense multitude of institutions for conveying grace, whose use enables the free will to escape sin’s penalties, and to exhibit merits to God the rewarder. That is Gregory’s notion of God, and it is the specific conception held by the Roman Catholic Church: Christ as a person is forgotten. He is a great name in dogmatics, i.e., at the relative place; but the fundamental questions of salvation are not answered by reference to him, and in life the baptised has to depend on “means” which exist partly alongside, partly independently of him, or merely bear his badge. From this standpoint is explained the whole structure of Gregory’s theory of religion, which once more sets up fear602602“Deus terrores incutit”—often. and hope instead of faith and love, and for the grace of God in Christ substitutes not an improved, but merely a more complicated doctrine of merit. And yet Augustine could not have complained of this displacement of his ideas; for he had left standing, nay, had himself admitted into his system, all the main lines of this theory of religion. Even the manifest and grave externalisation of sin, the direction that we must be ever bathed in tears, while at the same time zealous and watchful to escape the penalties of sin, the perversion of the notion of God and sin, as if God’s sole concern was to be satisfied, since he was the requiter—all these thoughts have their points of contact in the range of Augustine’s conceptions.603603The term “tutius,” and the via tutior already play a great part in Gregory’s writings; see e.g., Dial. IV. 58: “Pensandum est, quod tutior sit via, ut bonum quod quisque post mortem suam sperat agi per alios, agit ipse dum vivit per se.” Accordingly that is only tutius, and not a self-evident duty. The darkest spot in mediæval piety, the fact that it commanded constant contrition, while at the same time it incited the penitent to make calculations which deadened the moral nerve and changed regret for sin into dread of punishment—this source of evil, which makes religious morality worse than non-religious, was from this time perpetuated in the Catholic Church of the West.604604Gregory also expressly forbids anyone to be certain of his salvation; for this he could, indeed, appeal to Augustine. His letter to the Empress Gregoria’s lady of the bed-chamber is most instructive (V. 25). This poor woman wished to have assurance of her salvation, and had written the Pope that she would ply him with letters until he should write that he knew by a special revelation that her sins were forgiven. What an evangelical impulse in A.D. 596! The Pope replied, first, that he was unworthy of a special revelation; secondly, that she should not be certain of forgiveness until, the last day of her life having come, she should no longer be in a position to deplore her sins. Till then she must continue to fear; for certainty is the parent of indolence; she must not strive to obtain it lest she go to sleep. “Let thy soul tremble for a little while just now, that it may afterwards enjoy unending delight.”
But in the case of Gregory himself this system of religion is traversed by many other ideas gained from the Gospel and Augustine. He could speak eloquently of the impression made by the person of Christ, and describe the inner change produced by the Divine Word605605Divinus sermo. The phrase “verbum fidei” is also very common. in such a way as to make us feel that he is not reproducing a lesson he has learnt from others, but is speaking from his own experience. “Through the sacred oracles we are quickened by the gift of the Spirit, that we may reject works that bring death; the Spirit enters, when God touches the mind of the reader in different ways and orders.”606606Ezech. I., h. 7. “Per sacra eloquia dono spiritus vivificamur, ut mortifera a nobis opera repellamus; spiritus vadit, cum legentis animum diversis modis et ordinibus tangit deus.” The Spirit of God works on the inner nature through the Word. Thus, many of Augustine’s best thoughts are reproduced in Gregory’s writings.607607Gregory’s veracity, indeed, is not altogether above suspicion. His miraculous tales are often not ingenuous, but calculated; read e.g., Ep. IV. 30. His propaganda for the Church did not shrink from doubtful means. The Jews on papal properties were to be influenced to accept Christianity by the remission of taxes. Even if their own conversion was not sincere, their children would be good Catholics (Ep. V. 8). Yet Gregory has expressed himself very distinctly against forcible conversions (Ep. I. 47). Again, in his Dogmatics he was not a sacerdotalist. If, as is undeniable, he gave an impetus to the further identification of the empirical Church with the Church, if all his teaching as to the imputed merit of saints, oblations, masses, penance, purgatory, etc., could not but benefit the sacerdotal Church, and favour the complete subjection of poor souls to its power, if, finally, his ecclesiastical policy was adapted to raise the Church, with the Pope at its head, to a supremacy that limited and gave its blessing and sanction to every other power, yet his dogmatic was by no means mere ecclesiasticism. We wonder, rather, that he has nowhere drawn the last, and apparently so obvious consequences,608608Besides, he by no means sought to introduce the usages of the Roman Church by tyrannical force, but rather directed Augustine, the missionary, to adopt what good he found in other national Churches; see Ep. XI. 64. On the other hand, the bewildering identification of Peter and the Pope made a further advance in the hands of Gregory. He means the Pope when he says: “s. ecclesia in apostolorum principis soliditate firmata est.” And he declares (Ep. IX. 12): “de Constantinopolitana ecclesia quod dicunt, quis eam dubitet sedi apostolica; esse subjectam;” see also the fine passage Ep. IX. 59: “Si qua culpa in episcopis invenitur, nescic quis Petri successori subjectus non sit; cum vero culpa non exigit, omnes secundum rationem humilitatis æquales sunt.” in other words, that he did not rigidly concentrate the whole immense apparatus in the hand of the priest, and give the latter the guidance of every single soul. Already this had been frequently done in practice; but the thought still predominated that every baptised person was alone responsible for himself, and had to go his own way in the sight of God and within the Church, by aid of penance and forgiveness. It was reserved for the mediæval development first to set up dogmatically the demand that the penitent, i.e., every Christian from baptism to death, should depend wholly on the guidance of the priest.609609Gregory’s extensive correspondence shows how far even at this time strictly theological questions had come to be eclipsed by practical ones as to pastoral supervision and education by means of the cultus and church order. On Gregory’s importance in connection with the cultus, see Duchesne’s excellent work, Orig. du culte chrétien (1888), esp. p. 153 sq.
|« Prev||2. Gregory the Great.||Next »|