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Controversies Between Church And State Essay, Research Paper

Controversies Between Church and State

During the Middle Ages, church and state leaders had many battles.

Some who were involved were Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich IV and Pope

Gregory VIII; King II and Archbishop Thomas Becket; King Philip IV and

Pope Boniface VIII. Their situations were all related by the fact that they

were all controversies between an emperor or king and the Catholic church.

The Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich (Henry) IV and Pope Gregory

VIII?s struggle was centered on by investiture. Henry invested many bishops

at his own will even though Gregory had banned investiture by laity. Henry

felt his investiture of bishops was necessary to the control of his kingdom, so

he kept on doing it. Gregory responded to this by excommunicating Henry.

Henry later apologized and received the Pope?s forgiveness. Out of

humiliation, he chased Gregory out of Rome and elected a new pope.

King Henry II made his close and dear friend Thomas Becket

Archbishop of Canterbury in hopes that since he and his friend were so

close, Becket would give some power over the Church to Henry. Instead,

Becket refused to do Henry?s bidding and became a fierce champion of the

independence and rights of the church. In 1170, Becket was killed during a

church mass by four of Henry?s knights. Henry surrendered to the Pope, who

threatened him with excommunication. Thomas Becket was later named a

saint and is a symbol of the struggle between church and state.

Pope Boniface VIII believed that the Pope, whomever he may be, was

always in higher power than the reigning king or emperor. Boniface issued a

bull saying kings could not tax clergy, yet King Philip IV kept on taxing the

Church. Boniface issued yet another bull titled the Unam Sanctum which

stated that there were two powers in the universe: earthly (kings, emperors,

etc.) and spiritual (God) and that spiritual is always higher than earthly.

Since he represented God, Boniface said he had more power than Philip, but

Philip just ignored Boniface?s bull yet once more. Before Boniface could

excommunicate Philip, Philip?s soldiers kidnapped Boniface from his palace in

Anagni in 1803. The people of Anagni eventually saved Boniface, but the

Pope was so shocked, he soon died.

As one can see, all these situations are closely tied together. They may have

involved different people, but they all revolved around one thing. A

controversy between church and state.


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