History of the papacy (1048–1257)

Last updated
Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor found three rival popes when he visited Rome in 1048 because of the unprecedented actions of Pope Benedict IX. He deposed all three and installed his own preferred candidate: Pope Clement II. Heinrich III. (HRR) Miniatur.jpg
Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor found three rival popes when he visited Rome in 1048 because of the unprecedented actions of Pope Benedict IX. He deposed all three and installed his own preferred candidate: Pope Clement II.

The history of the papacy from 1048 to 1257 was marked by conflict between popes and the Holy Roman Emperor, most prominently the Investiture Controversy, a dispute over who pope or emperor could appoint bishops within the Empire. Henry IV's Walk to Canossa in 1077 to meet Pope Gregory VII (1073–85), although not dispositive within the context of the larger dispute, has become legendary. Although the emperor renounced any right to lay investiture in the Concordat of Worms (1122), the issue would flare up again.

Contents

The Imperial crown once held by the Carolingian emperors was disputed between their fractured heirs and local overlords; none emerged victorious until Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor invaded Italy. Italy became a constituent kingdom of the Holy Roman Empire in 962, from which point emperors were Germanic. As emperors consolidated their position, northern Italian city-states would become divided by Guelphs and Ghibellines.

Long-standing divisions between East and West also came to a head in the East-West Schism and the Crusades. The first seven Ecumenical Councils had been attended by both Western and Eastern prelates, but growing doctrinal, theological, linguistic, political, and geographic differences finally resulted in mutually denunciations and excommunications. Pope Urban II (1088–99) speech at the Council of Clermont in 1095 became the rallying cry of the First Crusade.

Unlike the previous millennium, the process for papal selection became somewhat fixed during this period. Pope Nicholas II promulgated In Nomine Domini in 1059, which limited suffrage in papal elections to the College of Cardinals. The rules and procedures of papal elections evolved during this period, laying the groundwork for the modern papal conclave. The driving force behind these reforms was Cardinal Hildebrand, who later became Gregory VII.

History

Investiture Controversy

The Investiture Controversy was the most significant conflict between secular and religious powers in medieval Europe. It began as a dispute in the 11th century between the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, and the Gregorian Papacy concerning who would control appointments of church officials (investiture). The controversy, undercutting the Imperial power established by the Salian Emperors, would eventually lead to nearly fifty years of civil war in Germany, the triumph of the great dukes and abbots, and the disintegration of the German empire, a condition from which it would not recover until the unification of Germany in the 19th century.

In 1046, Henry III deposed three rival popes. Over the next ten years, he personally selected four of the next five pontiffs. But after the death of Henry III, the pope quickly moved to change the system to prevent such secular involvement in the election of future popes.

The eleventh century is often called the century of Saxon popes: Pope Gregory VI (1045–1046), Pope Clement II (1046–1047), Pope Damasus II (1048), Pope Leo IX (1049–1054), Pope Victor II (1055–1057) and Pope Stephen IX (1057–1058).

Three popes Benedict IX, Sylvester III and Gregory VI all claimed to be the rightful pope. Henry III deposed all three and held a synod where he declared no Roman priest fit for the title of pope. He subsequently appointed Suidger of Bamberg who, after being duly acclaimed by the people and clergy, took the name Clement II.

Days later, Clement II then crowned Henry emperor. Over the next ten years, Henry personally selected four of the next five pontiffs. The ascendancy of these to the papacy reflected the strength and power of the Holy Roman Emperor. However, Henry was the last emperor to dominate the papacy in this way because, after his death, the pope quickly moved to change the system to prevent such secular involvement in the election of future popes.

The struggle between the temporal power of the emperors and the spiritual influence of the popes came to a head in the reigns of Pope Nicholas II (1059–1061) and Pope Gregory VII (1073–1085). The popes fought to free the appointment of bishops, abbots and other prelates from the power of secular lords and monarchs into which it had fallen. This would prevent venial men being appointed to vital church positions because it benefited political rulers. Henry IV was ultimately driven by a revolt among the German nobles to make peace with the pope and appeared before Gregory in January 1077 at Canossa. Dressed as a penitent, the emperor is said to have stood barefoot in the snow for three days and begged forgiveness until, in Gregory's words: "We loosed the chain of the anathema and at length received him into the favor of communion and into the lap of the Holy Mother Church". [1]

Electoral reform

San Pietro in Vincoli, the site of the papal election, 1061, the first to exclude the laity Roma-sanpietroin vincoli01.jpg
San Pietro in Vincoli, the site of the papal election, 1061, the first to exclude the laity

Pope Nicholas II, elected in 1058, initiated a process of reform which exposed the underlying tension between empire and papacy. In 1059, at a synod in Rome, Nicholas condemned various abuses within the church, and issued In Nomine Domini . These included simony (the selling of clerical posts), the marriage of clergy and, more controversially, corrupt practices in papal elections. Nicholas then restricted the choice of a new pope to a conclave of cardinals, thus ruling out any direct influence by secular powers. The primary objective of these actions was to restrict the influence of the Holy Roman Emperor on papal elections. In 1061, the assembled bishops of Germany, the emperor's own faction, declared all the decrees of this pope null and void.

In 1059, Nicholas II took two steps of a kind which, while unusual at this period, would later become commonplace for the medieval papacy. He granted land, which was already occupied, to recipients of his own choice, engaging those recipients in a feudal relationship with the papacy, or the Holy See, as the feudal lord. The beneficiaries of Nicholas' land grants were the Normans, who were granted territorial rights in southern Italy and Sicily in return for feudal obligations to Rome.

These tensions between emperors and pontiffs were to continue into the twelfth century and ultimately gave rise to the "distinctive separation of Church and State when the emperor signed the Concordat of Worms (1122) forfeiting any right to invest bishops with the ring and the staff symbolic of spiritual authority". [2] Papal victory was short-lived, and this attempted separation of the secular from the ecclesiastical did not end aspirations on the part of the emperors to influence the papacy, nor the aspirations of the popes to exercise political power.

During the reign of Pope Gregory VII, the title “pope” was officially restricted to the bishop of Rome. Gregory VII was also responsible for greatly expanding the power of the papacy in worldly matters. One of the great reforming popes, Gregory is perhaps best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy, which pitted him against Emperor Henry IV, and the Gregorian Reform process.

East-West Schism

The East-West Schism was the event that divided Chalcedonian Christianity into Western Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Though normally dated to 1054, the East-West Schism was actually the result of an extended period of estrangement between the two Churches. The primary causes of the Schism were disputes over papal authority the pope claimed he held authority over the four Eastern Greek-speaking patriarchs, and over the insertion of the filioque clause into the Nicene Creed by the Western Church. Eastern Orthodox today claim that the primacy of the Patriarch of Rome was the only honorary and that he has authority only over his own diocese and does not have the authority to change the decisions of Ecumenical Councils. There were other, less significant catalysts for the Schism, including variance over liturgical practices and conflicting claims of jurisdiction.

The Church split along doctrinal, theological, linguistic, political, and geographic lines, and the fundamental breach has never been healed. Attempts were made to reunite the two churches in 1274 (by the Second Council of Lyon) and in 1439 (by the Council of Basel), but in each case the councils were repudiated by the Orthodox as a whole, charging that the hierarchs had overstepped their authority in consenting to these so-called "unions". Further attempts to reconcile the two bodies have failed.

Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus asked Pope Urban II (1088–1099) for help against the Turks in the early 1090s. Urban II viewed this request as a great opportunity. Not only could it restore Christian control over the Holy Land, but it also provided a means of domestic pacification that focused the aggression of the European nobility towards the Moslems instead of each other. In addition, coming to the aid of Byzantium held the possibility of a reunion between the eastern and western Churches after almost four decades of schism, thereby strengthening the western Church in general and the papacy in particular.

On November 27, 1095, Urban II made one of the most influential speeches in the Middle Ages at the Council of Clermont combining the ideas of making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with that of waging a holy war against infidels. The pope called for a “War of the Cross,” or Crusade, to retake the holy lands from the unbelievers. France, the pope said, was already overcrowded and the Holy Lands of Canaan were overflowing with milk and honey. Pope Urban II asked the Frenchmen to turn their swords in favor of God's service, and the assembly replied "Dieu le veult!" "God wills it!"

See also

Notes

  1. Robinson 2004: 283
  2. Ozment, 1980: 4

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Concordat of Worms agreement between Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V on September 23, 1122 near the city of Worms

The Concordat of Worms is the 1122 agreement between Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Pope Callixtus II, which brought to an end the first phase of the power struggle between the papacy and the Holy Roman Emperor, known as the Investiture Controversy. It was signed on 23 September, 1122, near the German city of Worms.

Council of Constance synod

The Council of Constance was a 15th-century ecumenical council recognized by the Catholic Church, held from 1414 to 1418 in the Bishopric of Constance in present-day Germany. The council ended the Western Schism by deposing or accepting the resignation of the remaining papal claimants and by electing Pope Martin V.

Pope Alexander II pope

Pope Alexander II, born Anselm of Baggio, was pope from 1061 to his death in 1073. Born in Milan, Anselm was deeply involved in the Pataria reform movement. Elected on 30 September according to the terms of his predecessor's bull, In nomine Domini, Anselm's was the first election by the cardinals without the participation of the people and minor clergy of Rome.

Pope Callixtus II Pope from 1119 to 1124

Pope Callixtus II or Callistus II, born Guy of Burgundy, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 1 February 1119 to his death in 1124. His pontificate was shaped by the Investiture Controversy, which he was able to settle through the Concordat of Worms in 1122.

Pope Innocent II 12th-century Catholic pope

Pope Innocent II, born Gregorio Papareschi, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 14 February 1130 to his death in 1143. His election was controversial and the first eight years of his reign were marked by a struggle for recognition against the supporters of Antipope Anacletus II. He reached an understanding with Lothair II, Holy Roman Emperor who supported him against Anacletus and whom he crowned King of the Romans. Innocent went on to preside over the Second Lateran council.

The Salian dynasty was a dynasty in the High Middle Ages. The dynasty provided four German Kings (1024–1125), all of whom went on to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor (1027–1125); as such, the term Salic dynasty is also used to refer to the Holy Roman Empire of the time as a separate term.

Pope Gregory VII Pope

Pope Gregory VII, born Hildebrand of Sovana, was pope from 22 April 1073 to his death in 1085.

Pope Leo IX German aristocrat and pope (reigning 1049–1054), who precipitated the Great Schism (1054); canonized, with feast day on 19 April

Pope Leo IX, born Bruno of Egisheim-Dagsburg, was Pope of the Catholic Church from 12 February 1049 to his death in 1054. He was a German aristocrat and a powerful ruler of central Italy while holding the papacy. He is regarded as a saint by the Catholic Church, his feast day celebrated on 19 April.

Investiture Controversy 11th- and 12th-century dispute between secular rulers and the papacy

The Investiture Controversy or Investiture Contest was a conflict between church and state in medieval Europe over the ability to install high church officials through investiture. By undercutting imperial power, the controversy led to nearly 50 years of civil war in Germany. According to historian Norman Cantor, the Investiture Controversy was "the turning-point in medieval civilization", marking the end of the Early Middle Ages with the Germanic peoples' "final and decisive" acceptance of Christianity. More importantly, it set the stage for the religious and political system of the High Middle Ages.

The Gregorian Reforms were a series of reforms initiated by Pope Gregory VII and the circle he formed in the papal curia, c. 1050–80, which dealt with the moral integrity and independence of the clergy. The reforms are considered to be named after Pope Gregory VII (1073–85), though he personally denied it and claimed his reforms, like his regnal name, honoured Pope Gregory I.

Western Schism Split within the Catholic Church from 1378 to 1417

The Western Schism, also called Papal Schism, Great Occidental Schism and Schism of 1378, was a split within the Catholic Church lasting from 1378 to 1417 in which two men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope, and each excommunicated one another. Driven by authoritative politics rather than any theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance (1414–1418). For a time these rival claims to the papal throne damaged the reputation of the office.

The Council of Sutri was called by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III and opened on December 20, 1046, in the hilltown of Sutri, at the edge of the Duchy of Rome. The Catholic Church does not list this as an ecumenical council.

History of the papacy aspect of history

The history of the papacy, the office held by the pope as head of the Catholic Church, according to Catholic doctrine, spans from the time of Peter to the present day.

Papal supremacy Doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church that the Pope, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ and as pastor of the entire Christian Church, has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole world

Papal supremacy is the doctrine of the Catholic Church that the Pope, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ and as the visible foundation and source of unity, and as pastor of the entire Catholic Church, has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered: that, in brief, "the Pope enjoys, by divine institution, supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls."

In nomine Domini is a papal bull written by Pope Nicholas II and a canon of the Council of Rome. The bull was issued on 13 April 1059 and caused major reforms in the system of papal election, most notably establishing the cardinal-bishops as the sole electors of the pope, with the consent of minor clergy.

Papal appointment

Papal appointment was a medieval method of selecting a pope. Popes have always been selected by a council of Church fathers, however, Papal selection before 1059 was often characterized by confirmation or "nomination" by secular European rulers or by their predecessors. The later procedures of the papal conclave are in large part designed to constrain the interference of secular rulers which characterized the first millennium of the Roman Catholic Church, and persisted in practices such as the creation of crown-cardinals and the jus exclusivae. Appointment might have taken several forms, with a variety of roles for the laity and civic leaders, Byzantine and Germanic emperors, and noble Roman families. The role of the election vis-a-vis the general population and the clergy was prone to vary considerably, with a nomination carrying weight that ranged from near total to a mere suggestion or ratification of a prior election.

Papal selection before 1059

There was no uniform procedure for papal selection before 1059. The bishops of Rome and supreme pontiffs (popes) of the Catholic Church were often appointed by their predecessors or by political rulers. While some kind of election often characterized the procedure, an election that included meaningful participation of the laity was rare, especially as the popes' claims to temporal power solidified into the Papal States. The practice of papal appointment during this period would later result in the jus exclusivae, i.e., a right to veto the selection that Catholic monarchs exercised into the twentieth century.

Christianity in the 11th century Christianity-related events during the 11th century

Christianity in the 11th century is marked primarily by the Great Schism of the Church, which formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern (Greek) and Western (Latin) branches.

Tusculan Papacy

The Tusculan Papacy was a period of papal history from 1012 to 1048 where three successive Counts of Tusculum installed themselves as pope.

Peter Damian reformist monk

Peter Damian was a reforming Benedictine monk and cardinal in the circle of Pope Leo IX. Dante placed him in one of the highest circles of Paradiso as a great predecessor of Saint Francis of Assisi and he was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828. His feast day is 21 February.