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Arnold of Brescia
A rebel from the beginning of his ecclesiastical career, Arnold of Brescia was born c. 1096/1100 in northern Italy and studied at Paris. He may have been a student of Peter Abelard, or his association with Abelard may have begun in 1139, when Arnold was banished from his monastery in Brescia for leading a revolt against his bishop. Like Abelard, Arnold was condemned at the Council of Sens (1141) and became the enemy of Bernard of Clairvaux. Unlike Abelard, Arnold was never reconciled with Bernard and continued to attack him as vain and narrow-minded. At Bernard's urging, Louis VII expelled Arnold from Paris, where he had continued to preach in spite of Innocent II's order that Arnold be confined to a monastery. Arnold was eventually reconciled with the papacy in the person of Eugene III, who later excommunicated him for his participation in an uprising that restored the Roman republic in 1148. When Adrian IV was elected pope in 1154, he placed Rome under interdict and demanded that the republicans surrender Arnold, who fled to Tuscany. Frederick Barbarossa's army captured Arnold and turned him over the Roman authorities for punishment. Arnold was hanged; his body was burned; and his ashes were scattered over the Tiber.
Arnold preached that spiritual people should possess nothing; he felt that the church had too much material wealth. He believed that the sinfulness of a priest destroys the value of the sacraments and that Christians should confess one to another, rather than to a priest. His followers were condemned at the Council of Verona in 1184.
Karen Rae Keck
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