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History of the Christian Church, Volume V: The Middle Ages. A.D. 1049-1294.
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§ 8. The War against Clerical Marriage.


The same Lateran Council of 1059 passed severe laws against the two heresies of simony and Nicolaitism. It threatened all priests who were unwilling to give up their wives or concubines with the loss of their benefices and the right of reading mass, and warned the laity against attending their services. "No one," says the third of the thirteen canons, "shall hear mass from a priest who to his certain knowledge keeps a concubine or a subintroducta mulier."

These severe measures led to serious disturbances in Northern Italy, especially in the diocese of Milan, where every ecclesiastical office from the lowest to the highest was for sale, and where marriage or concubinage was common among priests of all grades, not excluding the archbishop.1919    Bonizo, a friend of Hildebrand, calls Wido, who was elected bishop of Milan in 1045, a "vir illiteratus et concubinarius et absque ulla verecundia Simoniacus." Migne, Tom. CL. 825; Jaffé, Mon. Greg., 639. But Hefele, IV. 793, doubts the charge of concubinage, and also Mirbt, Publizistik, 249.d by a fictitious decision of Ambrose, who, on the contrary, was an enthusiast for celibacy. Candidates for holy orders, if unmarried, were asked if they had strength to remain so; if not, they could be legally married; but second marriages were forbidden, and the Levitical law as to the virginity of the bride was observed. Those who remained single were objects of suspicion, while those who brought up their families in the fear of God were respected and eligible to the episcopate. Concubinage was regarded as a heinous offense and a bar to promotion.2020    Lea, l.c., p. 210.

But the Roman Church and the Hildebrandian party reversed the case, and denounced sacerdotal marriage as unlawful concubinage. The leader of this party in Lombardy was Anselm of Baggio (west of Milan), a zealous and eloquent young priest, who afterwards became bishop of Lucca and then pope (as Alexander II.). He attacked the immorality of the clergy, and was supported by the lowest populace, contemptuously called "Pataria" or "Patarines," i.e. "Ragbags."2121    Muratori and Du Cange (sub Pataria and Paterinus) derive pataria from pate, which in the Milanese dialect means a huckster or pedler. So also Hefele, IV. 796. Giesebrecht(III. 31) renders PatarinaLumpengesindel. The contemporary, Bonizo, interprets the term to mean "ragged,"patarinos id est pannosos vocabant. See Mirbt, art. Patara, in Herzog, XIV. 761 sqq.ent and sanguinary tumults took place in the churches and streets. Peter Damiani, a sincere enthusiast for ascestic holiness, was sent as papal legate to Milan. He defended the Pataria at the risk of his life, proclaimed the supremacy of the Roman see, and exacted a repudiation of all heretical customs.

This victory had great influence throughout Lombardy. But the strife was renewed under the following pope and under Gregory VII., and it was not till 1093 that Urban II. achieved a permanent triumph over Nicolaitism at a great council at Piacenza.



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