Ozment, Steven E. The Age of Reform: 1250-1550 : An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe. New Haven, Conn. ; London: Yale University Press, 1980. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 3, “The Spiritual Traditions” Part 2 “Monastic Piety” pp. 81-97
Ozment characterizes a divide between those engaged in a life of prayer and worship and those engaged in scholarly pursuit. By the end of the 12th century this was a fairly clear demarcation. The monastic movement was seen as a holy life of separation from the world and devotion to God.
As monasticism grew, Ozment observes that it separated even from the patterns of established Christian faith and practice (Ozment 1980, 84). From the monastery of Cluny (founded in 910) came some striking reforms, which Ozment discusses on p. 85 and following. This “reform came in response to several crises within the church. Clerical education and morality, especially the discipline of celibacy, had lapsed in the post-Carolingian church” (Ibid., 85). The church was also suffering by the habit of emperors’ appointment of bishops. The reforms sought more separation between clerics and the life patterns of the world. Other religious orders subsequently sprang up, patterned on these reforms. Counter to the scholastic speculation, a life of prayer and devotion to God was taken to be superior.
In some of the separatist spiritual movements, notably the Beguine movement in the 13th century (Ibid., 91) the spiritual life was elevated to the point of blurring gender roles, degrading marriage and procreation, and allowing hedonistic experimentation. To this the church responded with a stronger view of male priesthood and prohibitions of contraceptives.