Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pope St. Gregory VII: A Great Reformer (or Huge Pain in the Neck)

While working on this month's Knights of Columbus local council bulletin, I looked up Pope Gregory VII - AKA Pope St. Gregory VII and Hildebrand.

I don't think there's been a time when the Catholic Church hasn't had troubles of some kind, but the situation when Hildebrand became Pope Gregory VII, a thousand years ago, stands out a bit. Monastic discipline had gotten lax - putting it politely - and cattle were roaming through broken church doors. Lack of effective law enforcement - or laws - in places like the Champagne weren't helping, but that was external problem.

Depending on whether you were someone who wanted to see the Church get back on track, or one of the fat cats who liked the status quo just fine, St. Gregory VII was a dedicated reformer, or an enormous pain in the neck.

There's a pretty good - and lengthy - writeup on "Pope St. Gregory VII" on the New Advent website: excerpted from "The Catholic Encyclopedia." (New York: Robert Appleton Company.)

Changing Times: Been There, Done That

I've noticed that many 'interesting times,' when everything seems to be in upheaval, come at roughly 500-year intervals:
  • The rise - and fall - of the
    • Babylonian Empire
    • Assyrian Empire
  • The epic age of India
  • Rome's meltdown that
    • Ended the Republic
    • Started the Empire
  • The Roman Empire's collapse
  • The viking age, when half my ancestors were
    • Raiding the other half, or
    • Trading with them
  • The Renaissance
  • Now
There was quite a lot during that four-millennia span that didn't happen at very roughly half-millennium intervals - but some of the really big shakeouts did.

Interesting, and I'll let it go at that.

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.