The revival of the economy coincided with a major movement to reform the Church. During the early Middle Ages, the church had lost a great deal of its independence. Many of the church’s most critical offices and sources of income were controlled by the magnates, who used them for their own political purposes. Beginning in the early 10th century, a movement to free the church of control by laymen emerged from the Benedictine monastery in Cluny (see Benedictines). By the end of the 11th century, 1,500 monasteries supported Cluny’s reforms, and in the 12th century, the austere Cistercian order joined Cluny’s reform efforts.
Nearly from the start, the papacy had maintained close ties to the Cluniac movement. Popes such as Gregory VII (1073-1085) tied the reform movement to the authority of the papacy over secular rulers.
The reformers sought to recruit the ablest people, not the wellborn, to fill high church offices, and, as a result, they strengthened the church as a whole. During the High Middle Ages from about 1050 to about 1300, the Church expanded its presence in society. The number of monastic orders multiplied, and the church promoted arts, education, and scholarship and encouraged the use of canon law and ecclesiastical courts. "France" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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