“Gregorian doctrines of accountability resemble the later idea of the absolute state. They portrayed the Body of Christ as a corporation over which the Pope had been called by God to exercise arbitrary judgement, transcending all other rights. […] The set forth a poitical order ruled by the inspired judgement of one man rather than by the inherited rule of the whole community. Their doctrine that the Pope was dominant over all and accountable to none by divine vocation required the use of coercion against dissidents.

The second area is related to the first. Since the Pope was dominant over the other bishops, he was also in ‘control’ of the sacraments administered by these bishops. Hence, the Gregorian Popes could now declare that the Sacraments were null when performed by simoniac and Nicolaite clergy, or forbid lay investiture. The argument was that the sacrament was impaired by the moral defects of the celebrants. Also, because the Church was one, the sacraments and rites were to be the same everywhere, hence the gradual imposition of the Roman rite everywhere in Western Christendom.

The third area in which the Gregorians applied reform was in what we can call affective participation. This is based on the monastic example of poverty and virtue, an example itself rooted in the example of the Gospels. Through poverty and a virtuous life, the participant, i.e. everyone, could achieve union of heart with God. Such concept would be perpetuated after the official end of the Gregorian reform and can be seen, for example, in the life of Francis of Assisi. But it would also give rise to less conformist movements, such as Catharism in southern France and northern Italy or the movement of Peter Waldo in Lyons and Northern Italy.