What was the Cluny reform movement?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Cluny reform movement was a religious reform movement. It began in Cluny, France in 910. There were a variety of reasons for the decline of Western monasticism. Poverty, invasions, and the dependence on nobles led to this decline. The reform movement tried to reverse this trend.

There were many reforms made at Cluny that restored the rule of St. Benedict. One reform was to have public worship be a critical part of Christian life. The Cluniac monks devoted themselves to religious practice. This included the celebration of Holy Mass and the singing of Psalms. Sacred music and religious celebrations were promoted. The use of silence was encouraged to allow for deep reflection. These practices allowed the Cluniac monastery to be known for its holiness. Other monasteries decided to follow the practices of the Cluniac monastery. The Cluniac monastery was able to fight the practice of acquiring pastoral offices for money. It also confronted the lack of morals of the secular clergy.

The Cluniac reform brought significant changes in religious practices and beliefs to the Catholic Church.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Cluny (or Cluniac) reform movement was an effort to reform the Catholic Church.  Although some of its goals were similar to those of the Protestant Reformation, it happened centuries before the Reformation. 

The Cluniac movement arose in France in 910.  Cluniacs felt that the Church was becoming too worldly and too concerned with material wealth and temporal power.  The Cluniac movement got its start in monasteries.  Duke William of Aquitaine founded a monastery that was meant to return to what William thought religion should really be like.  The monks were to engage in hard work and communal prayer.  They were to help others rather than seeking riches and power.  This movement spread quickly and put some pressure on the Church as a whole to reform its ways.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial