Frederick II was right in believing that the church needed reform. For example, Innocent IV, in fighting Frederick, had approved the appointment to a bishopric in German territory of an illiterate and dissolute young man of nineteen just because he was a member of a powerful anti- Hohenstaufen noble family; this bishop was forced to resign after twenty-five years, but only because his public boasting about his fourteen bastards had become a scandal. The need for reform was constantly felt in the church itself, and successive waves of reforming zeal manifested themselves, especially in monastic movements.
Cluny continued in its determination to rid the church of abuses; its centrally organized rule over daughter houses was its strength and its weakness. The effectiveness of centralized control depended on the personality of the abbot of the ruling house; a weak or selfish or cynical abbot would endanger the whole enterprise. Those who started out determined to leave the world and live in poverty and humility found themselves admired by the rich and often took gifts that in turn transformed them into worldly men of business all too concerned with the things of this life. Thus, by the late eleventh century, the Cluniac houses had become wealthy and their rule had relaxed.