The Middle Ages spirit’s call for reform is a powerful force in today’s world, said Franciscan University adjunct professor Dr. Andrew W. Jones on Oct. 27 at his second talk on “The Liturgical Cosmos.”
However, Jones noted that the meaning of reform was different in medieval times than now.
Jones, again delivering his lecture in the Gentile Gallery, said that it was the canons of the Fourth Lateran Council that stated that clerics should never be drunkards, that individuals should go to confession and receive the Eucharist at least once a year and that simony and avarice among the clergy is unacceptable. Such canons go on and on, he said.
“And what I want us to see today is how these are all connected, how the worldview that I discussed last week is present in these canons and is what binds them together as a coherent whole rather than just a simple list,” said Jones.
“So in the century and a half leading up to Lateran four … reform was on everyone’s lips, reform was … the buzzword of the period. Everyone was talking about reform in a similar way that for the last couple hundred years, everyone’s been talking about freedom,” he said.
Then he asked, “But what did reform mean? … We tend to think of reform as having to do with cleaning something up, of getting rid of corruption and making things better. For example, we might want to reform the city council here in Steubenville.”
He continued, “… it meant more than that in the 12th century. Reform was directly connected to salvation. What was lost in Eden was to be restored … was to be reformed. Man was to be reformed in the image of God.”
Jones went on to say that Lateran Four was the culmination of a massive reform movement that started in the monasteries that moved on to the clergy. He also said that integral to it all was the laity. The reforming spirit of the day permeated into all aspects of medieval life, he said.
However, Jones said that Lateran Four came with no shortage of controversies and these controversies were the subject of his last talk Nov. 3.