IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 1516: Rules for Clerics

Thursday 12 July 2012, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Karen Stöber, Departament d'Història, Universitat de Lleida
Paper 1516-aThe Rules of Clerical Celibacy: Compliance and Clerical Continence in Anglo-Norman England
(Language: English)
Brian Creese, Birkbeck, University of London / Institute of Education, University of London
Index terms: Canon Law, Ecclesiastical History, Politics and Diplomacy, Sexuality
Paper 1516-bMaking a Social Morality: Clerical Rules and Discipline in Late Medieval Castile
(Language: English)
Susana Guijarro González, Departamento de Ciencias Históricas, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander
Index terms: Canon Law, Religious Life, Social History
Paper 1516-cThe Case of the Churlish Churchwardens: Rule Breaking and Contested Identities in the Late Medieval Parisian Church
(Language: English)
Tiffany D. Vann Sprecher, Department of History, University of Minnesota
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Law, Lay Piety, Religious Life

Paper -a:
Professor Zachiary Brooke suggests that no married bishops were appointed in England after 1170, while his son Christopher concluded that clerical marriage amongst the higher clergy ‘died out’ in the mid 12th century. My research, which looked at the higher clergy in Anglo-Norman England between 1070 and 1195, suggests that there were at least six incontinent Bishops after 1170 and clear signs of a rise in clerical incontinence in the final quarter of the 12th century. In this paper I name the guilty parties and present the evidence against – and some for – their compliance with the rules of clerical celibacy.

Paper -b:
As a result of Lateran Council demands, the Castilian Church spread during the Late Middle Age the idea that the reform of the life of secular clergy was an imperative need. The reforms led by bishops had different consequences in each diocese. Bishops often encountered resistance to new rules in the cathedral and diocesan clergy. This is the case of the Burgos cathedral clergy who I have studied. All these reforms shared an emphasis on personal and public conducts, specifically sexual behaviour, language, gestures and physical appearance. Old and new rules were combined to serve a single purpose: making a Christian morality which became social discipline by passing ecclesiastical circles to reach the daily life of laity.

Paper -c:
Parish churches in late medieval Paris were often sites of contested religious identity. This paper examines three court cases brought by the archpriest of the church of Mary Magdalene in Paris against his own churchwardens. The cases concern battles over church ornaments, spaces, money and, above all, authority. The paper will demonstrate how these battles grew out of changing expectations regarding lay and clerical responsibility for the religious well-being of the parish. It shows that changing expectations created conflict – sometimes destructive and sometimes productive – even when everyone followed the rules.