Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Origin of Roman Catholic Church - 48

Continues from the previous post –

Continues from previous post –
By the end of the century the relationship is even more intense, but it has turned sour. In 1296, Boniface VIII, is involved in a struggle with Philip IV of France about whether the king has the right to tax and punish clergy in his own realm without the pope's permission. This struggle for temporal power between church and state prolongs, in another form, the earlier tussle of the investiture controversy. Pope's over indulgence with royalties of Europe began to have other effects and they turned against the interest of Pope. In 1302, Philip enlists the estates general in Paris in support of his cause. Then, claiming that there were irregularities in the election of Boniface, he sends an envoy to Italy with instructions to stir up rebellion against the pope.

Hearing in 1303 that Boniface is about to issue a police action to excommunicate his royal master, Philip's envoy (Guillaume de Nogaret) takes a bold step. He raises a small armed force and surprises Boniface at his birthplace, Anagni. He arrests the pope and holds him prisoner for two days. This shows Pope's over indulgence in methods such as excommunications had turned against him. The prestige of the papacy is severely dented by this episode, while Philip IV's power seems enhanced. A few years later he even contrives to destroy the great order of the Templars (a knight of a religious military order established in 1118 to protect pilgrims and the Holy Sepulcher), forcing a French pope, Clement V, to comply with his wishes. This was repetition of what had happened with Henry of Germany, this time it was a French king. Such events were gradually reducing prestige of this august seat of religion. Over indulgence in field where Pope is not concerned was proved to be harmful to Pope's authority dignity.

For much of the 14th century France appears to have the papacy in its pocket, almost literally. Clement V is the first of seven French popes in an unbroken succession spanning seventy-three years, to 1378. From 1309 these Popes are based not in Rome but on French soil, at Avignon. Clement moves his headquarters to Avignon in 1309 to prepare for a council which he has called in central France, at Vienne, to discuss the king of France's charges against the Templars. The town is friendly, for it belongs to a papal protégé - the Angevin dynasty of Naples. When major extensions to the bishop's palace are undertaken, from 1316, it becomes evident that the papal residence in Avignon is to be a long one. Thus, French born Popes began to shift their quarters from Italy, Rome, to France. A Pope is generally expected to be above such attachments but this proved that these Popes were not worth becoming Popes to represent heritage of Jesus, they were ordinary businessmen and not key holders of Jesus' authority.

The popes at Avignon: 1309-1379
In many ways the move to Avignon has a rational justification. This city is close to the main power of the time, France, but it is in another kingdom - that of Naples. It is also the center of western Europe in a way which Rome could never be. Lines drawn from Britain to Italy and from Germany to Spain would cross close to Avignon.

In addition, this place is much more secure than Rome. Italy is in a state of anarchy, dominated by warring aristocratic families and companies of condottieri. At Avignon the French popes have the opportunity to create an efficient papal bureaucracy. Papal dignity is powerfully expressed in the great palace of the popes, constructed from 1334. There was one other intention in shifting the seat of Pope to Avignon; French Popes wanted to have this seat of Pope to be held by only French persons in future and for that it was obviously convenient to have that seat near France and not far away to Rome in Italy.

Yet the prestige of the Popes derives from Rome, the Seat of St Peter. Moreover, their territorial base, the Papal States, is Italian. Moreover, there are hopes at this time that some form of reconciliation may be possible with the Greek Orthodox church of Constantinople. In terms of both history and geography, Rome rather than Avignon would be the natural setting for such a desirable development.

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