Gregory the Great had set a wonderful example for the papacy, and it was followed by many splendid instances of strong and religious popes in the 11th century: Leo IX (1048-54), Alexander II (1061-73), and Gregory VII (1073-85) are but a few. These reformers tried to keep the spiritual power of the papacy free from the control of government rulers and to separate the appointment of bishops from government powers. The 12th century also revealed many strong popes: Innocent II (1130-43), Eugene III (1145-53), Alexander II (1159-81), and Innocent III (11981216). They too opposed the dominance of the government rulers of their times and their invasion into the realm of religious authority. In the world of medieval papacy, a basic distinction was dominant between the office of the pope and the person of the pope. The medieval world did not consider any formula for separating the temporal from the spiritual, so both good and bad persons could hold good offices. It was the office of the pope or bishop or teacher that commanded respect even when the person holding it might detract from its dignity.
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