A Liturgy Of Reform Bruno Segri

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A Liturgy Of Reform- Bruno Segri’s De Sacramentis Essay, Research Paper A Liturgy of Reform: Bruno Segri’s De Sacramentis Ecclesial and the Gregorian ReformIn the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries the Holy Roman Emporers and the Popes were engaged in a political, very often heated, sometimes bloody struggle. The litterary, political, and military maneouvering of these medieval men has been portrayed, in our own century, variously as revolutionary, as a function of the growth and promotion of Roman canon law, an attempt to promote sacerdotal leadership over the laity, even outright hierocracy over secular rulers, as the promotion of a monastic ideal for all of society, or, in still another approach, as reifying persecution within Western society.1 At the center of

this deadly struggle upon which historians have heaped so many theses was a liturgy: the rite of investing a bishop with his staff and ring, the symbols of his office. The investiture contest is itself only one element in the process of ecclesiastical reformation which hisotrians have named “Gregorian” after its most dominant personality: Gregory VII (1073-1085). The Gregorian reforms attempted to extend the monastic reforms of the tenth century to the secular clergy and laity in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Zealous to curb simony and to have a more spiritually, more ecclesiastically focussed episcopate, Gregory VII asserted as peculiar to papal dignity the right to appoint and invest all bishops. In so doing, Gregory threatened a significant source of power and

revenue of secular lords in general and of royalty and the Holy Roman Emperor in particular, and asserted a central, reforming role for the papacy.2It must have been clear from the outset to all those eager to continue this reform movement that the year 1111 would be an inauspicious one. The German ruler Henry V was marching towards Rome, allegedly with 30,000 men, to resolve any confusion over his right to invest his bishops. The Gregorian reform effort must have seemed to have arrived at an acute state of crisis to those who had struggled in its cause. Few alive at the time had been more zealous in their pursuit of ecclesiastical reform than Bruno, Cardinal Bishop of Segni, Abbot of Monte Cassino. Few men in Europe, or even in Italy, were as outspoken in the papal politics of

that year or, for that matter, of the previous generation than Bruno and few would fall so quickly from papal favor. It is this man, an exegete, cardinal bishop, papal counsellor, monk, and abbot with whom this study is concerned. More precisely, it is his brief, but highly original liturgical commentary on the dedication of a church, known as the De Sacramentis Ecclesiae, on which we shall focus our attention.3This paper will demonstrate that Bruno used his commentary as the basis for ecclesiological reflection; more precisely, to promote his vison of an idealized, reformed Church. It will also demonstrate that Bruno, out of favor with the papacy, envisions the episcopate in general (not the pope in particular) as the chief agents of reform. Finally, it is fitting that Bruno

would choose to express his vision in a liturgical commentary as the success of the entire reform movement seemed to hinge on proper liturgical practice: the investiture of bishops. In order to understand how the De sacramentis might relate to momentous events of 1111 we need to try to place this small commentary within the context of Bruno’s career. Bruno was born in Solero around 1040 or 1050 of humble parents. He was educated first at the Benedictine monastery of St. Perpetua in Asti and then studied the seven liberal arts at the increasingly important schools of Bologna.4 In February of 1079, as a canon of Sienna, Bruno was sent to Rome for a synod on the Eucharistic doctrine of Berengar of Tours. There, Bruno’s vigorous denouncement of Berengar’s views both convinced