The Church was overflowing with scandal
The Church was also feeling pressure in the political realm. One of the most powerful men in the world in particular seemed to enjoy bullying the Church.
Through it all, a Benedictine deacon was doing everything he could to turn back the tide.
There were many who listened to him, especially Popes. For twenty years, he was among the loudest and strongest voices promoting internal reform while defending the Church against external threats.
Then, during a papal funeral, after he had refused the position for many years, crowds loudly acclaimed that he must be the new Pope. The cardinals agreed. Despite his protests, he was ordained a priest and bishop. He was now Pope.
He took dramatic action: issuing decrees and dispatching legates to purge scandalous clergy and making authoritative declarations against the government figures that attacked the Church.
The most prominent of these figures, the famous Emperor Henry IV, ended up coming barefoot in the snow to ask the Holy Father’s pardon.
But the politics of the time were treacherous and Pope Gregory VII himself was betrayed by many sides and had to flee into exile where he soon died on this very day in 1085.
Born in poverty and known as Hildebrand, his personal piety and bold struggles for the freedom and purity of the faith would be long remembered and several centuries later he would be canonized as Pope St Gregory VII.
(from an earlier post)