Medieval Europe - Papal Reformation Essay

Words: 1642
Pages: 7

Since the Council of Nicaea called in the fourth century by Constantine to the early eleventh century, the Church was never established as a free standing institution. For over eight hundred years the Church had been under the authority of secular powers. Charlemagne and the Carolingians emperors saw themselves as the ones to maintain the Church materially, organizationally, and spiritually, while the pope was only an example of ideal Christian living. Social deterioration led to the corruption of the Church and its offices; simony being the biggest problem. The papacy itself was corrupted by simony and Roman politics. While reform had been taking place in the local levels for some time, the papacy was the last part of the Church to be …show more content…
When Henry IV came to power in 1056, he did not like the actions taken by the Church and trying to separate from his authority. The tension between the papacy and secular powers came to a high during the pontificate of Pope Gregory VII. Now Gregory VII had begun his career in Rome during the pontificate of Leo IX as Leo’s “‘secretary of state’ and author of his important papers” (Blum, 485). So Gregory had been around since the beginning of the papal reformation. His actions and policies would lead to the biggest conflict between the Church and State during this reformation. After dealing with carious rebellions, Henry IV’s resent meant lead him to prepare to attack Rome and deal with the papacy’s action. Henry wanted to show that he had supremacy and was the ruler of both Church and State. Before Henry could attack, Gregory responded with a declaration called the Dictatus Papae. This was a list of twenty-seven single sentence decrees about papal power. Gaudemet defines them as, “lapidary and unrestrained terms the universal power of the pope; his authority over bishops, clerics and councils, and his right to depose the emperor, to certify every canonical text, to make law and to deliver judgment from which there is no appeal” (Gaudemet, 470). Gregory was trying to establish that he alone, as the pope, had complete supremacy over both Church and the emperor. Henry took these Dictates as a direct attack on his