chapter  1
The basics of Christianity
Pages 11

Sacred kingship functioned well in the German Empire during the reign of the serious young king Henry III. Like his predecessors, Henry depended on the resources of the church to rule his kingdom and he exercised his right to appoint bishops and abbots. Henry III demonstrated his power during a disputed election to the bishopric of Rome. Pope Benedict IX (1032-44) was the son of a central Italian count who had thrust him into the papacy. Pope Gregory VI was a reformer who was willing, ironically, to commit simony to remove the scandalous Benedict. Moderate reformers like Leo held the papacy from 1049 until 1073. In a society energised by the growth of population, of economic activity and of urban life, the reforms of the eleventh century added a dimension of religious ferment and dissent that had repercussions for centuries.