St. Peter Damian
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Peter Damian (1007-1073 A.D.) was a Benedictine monk and cardinal. Dante placed him in one of the highest circles of Paradiso as a great predecessor of Francis of Assisi. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828. Although living in the seclusion of the cloister, Peter Damian was a strong advocate for Church Reform. When the scandalous Pope Benedict IX resigned the pontificate into the hands of John Gratian (Pope Gregory VI) in 1045, Peter Damian hailed the change with joy and wrote to the new pope, urging him to deal with the scandals of the church in Italy, especially the wicked bishops of Pesaro, of Città di Castello and of Fano. Peter Damian also published a constant stream of open letters on a variety of theological and disciplinary controversies. About 1050, he wrote Liber Gomorrhianus addressed to Pope Leo IX, containing a scathing indictment of the practice of sodomy, as threatening the integrity of the clergy.
Around the end of 1059, the state of things in Milan were so bad that benefices (a reward received in exchange for services rendered and as a retainer for future services) were openly bought and sold, and the clergy publicly married the women with whom they lived. Peter Damian was then sent as legate to Milan by Pope Nicholas II. The party of the irregular clerics took alarm to this and raised the cry that Rome had no authority over Milan. Peter boldly confronted the rioters in the cathedral and proved to them the authority of the Holy See with such effect that all parties submitted to his decision. He exacted first a solemn oath from the archbishop and all his clergy that for the future no preferment should be paid for; then, imposing a penance on all who had been guilty, he reinstated in their benefices all who undertook to live in celibacy.
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