Succeeded Urban II, and reigned from 13 Aug., 1099, till he died at Rome, 21 Jan., 1118. Born in central Italy, he was received at an early age as a monk in Cluny. In his twentieth year he was sent on business of the monastery to Rome, and was retained at the papal court by Gregory VII, and made Cardinal-Priest of St. Clement's church. It was in this church that the conclave met after the death of Pope Urban, and Cardinal Rainerius was the unanimous choice of the sacred college. He protested vigorously against his election, maintaining, with some justice, that his monastic training had not fitted him to deal with the weighty problems which confronted the papacy in that troublous age. His protestations were disregarded by his colleagues, and he was consecrated the following day in St. Peter's. Once pope, he betrayed no further hesitation and wielded the sceptre with a firm and prudent grasp. The main lines of his policy had been laid by the master minds of Gregory and Urban, in whose footsteps he faithfully followed, while the unusual length of his pontificate, joined to a great amiability of character, made his reign an important factor in the development of the medievalpapal dominion. Urban II had lived to witness the complete success of his wonderful movement for the liberation of the Holy Land and the defence of Christendom. He had died a fortnight after Jerusalem fell into the hands of the crusaders.
If it were ever unpresumptuous to trace the retributive justice of God in the destiny of one man, it might be acknowledged in the humiliation of Pope Paschal II. by the Emperor Henry V. The Pope, by his continual sanction, if not by direct advice, had trained the young Emperor in his inordinate ambition and his unscrupulous avidity for power. He had not rebuked his shameless perfidy or his revolting cruelty ; he had absolved him from thrice-sworn oaths; he had released him from the great irrepealable obligations of nature and the divine law. A rebel against his sovereign and his father was not likely, against his own interests or passions, to be a dutiful son or subject of his mother the Church, or of his spiritual superiors. If Paschal suffered the result of his own lessons, if he was driven from his capital, exposed to personal sufferings so great and menacing as to compel him to submit to the hardest terms which the Emperor chose to dictate, he had not much right to compassion. Paschal is almost the only later Pope who was reduced to the degrading necessity of being disclaimed by the clergy, of being forced to retract his own impeccable decrees, of being taunted in his own day with heresy, and abandoned as a feeble traitor to the rights of the Church by the dexterous and unscrupulous apologists of almost every act of the Papal See.