ABSTRACT

The positioning of clerical celibacy at the centre of the reform movement owes much to the work of Vacandard and Fliche, who presented the first detailed surveys of the attempts made to regulate the conduct of the clergy in the century between 1050 and 1150. From the perspective of subsequent writers on the history of clerical celibacy, the person of Gregory was to bestride the issue like a Colossus, but the roots of the debate were spread more widely and deeply. However, the era of the 'Gregorian reform' has continued to occupy a central place in the history and historical narrative of clerical celibacy, whether through the enactment of decrees regulating the conduct of the clergy, or the burgeoning polemical debate over marriage and celibacy. The middle decades of the eleventh century saw attempts to impose a more stringent discipline on the clergy, often coupling the condemnation of clerical marriage with the denunciation of those churchmen guilty of simony.