State Essay, Research Paper
Papal Expansion and The Importance of Harmonious
Relations Between Church and State
Ecclesiastical reform was incredibly important in the European Church in the late eleventh century and the early twelfth century. Previous to Emperor Henry III s reign there were extremely comfortable relations between the Church and the state which kept many kings, princes, and popes united, but actually upset many reformers. Papal reformers of the mid-eleventh century could primarily be categorized in two separate groups. There were those who wanted to change the papacy mildly by improving the moral standards of churchmen and end simony while remaining working hand-in-hand with the royal imperials. Then, there were those reformers that wanted to radically change the papacy by totally cutting off relations with the imperials then, in turn, shifting power to their new papal monarchy. Pope Leo IX is an example of a mild papal reformer while Pope Gregory VII sought radical papal reform. These differences in papal reform beliefs defined the popes relationships with their respective emperors, Henry III and Henry IV, and, correspondingly, defined the success of the Church and the Empire.
In 1309 Emperor Henry III inherited the throne and immediately focused on papal reform in the Empire. The position of Emperor brought on great responsibility for Henry III, but also brought on great imperial power. Henry III decided that he would aim his power towards politics in papal Rome. At the time there was a battle for the title of pope that was being fought by three different people. There had not been one definite pope in the papacy and Henry III decided that he would depose all three of those fighting for the head of the papacy and would appoint the pope himself. Henry III began looking for an appointee that was eager to reform the church the same way he envisioned church reform.
Pope Leo IX was the name of the person the Emperor chose. Leo IX was a reform Pope who constantly was fighting for reform. Leo IX envisioned the Church would eventually be composed of churchmen with high-morals that were against simony and clerical marriage. In order to build a Church like he envisioned, he traveled constantly himself to preside over local councils and depose guilty churchmen. Leo IX was a very successful papal reformist, but he also caused much turmoil amongst other papal reform groups. Many people wanted freedom from the state despite the fact that the church and the state worked closely during this time period and the kings and princes provided the papacy with gifts (e.g. land, buildings, etc) and support. Reformists felt that Emperor Henry III had too much authoritative power since he could appoint and depose Popes.
Henry III and Leo IX continued to work together harmoniously despite the rising number of papal reformists that wanted separation from the state. Leo IX continued enforcing his campaigns against clerical marriage and simony while Henry III continued to support the well doings of the Pope. Together, the Pope and the Emperor agreed on many policies, and they, in turn, raised the overall moral level of the European Church.
There was great support for church reform by the Emperor and the Pope which correspondingly created a strong bond between them. Unfortunately, Leo IX s time as Pope ran out in 1054, which led to papal leadership by a strong group of reform cardinals. Henry III died and left his throne to his six year-old-son Henry IV in 1056. The end of Pope Leo IX and Emperor Henry III s alliance and years of cohesive church reform marked the beginning of a new alliance between two very different people, Pope Gregory VII and Emperor Henry III.
In the year 1057, after all of Emperor Henry III s papal appointees had died, a group of reform cardinals began appointing popes without lay control. Amongst the reformers was Hildebrand, who eventually became Pope Gregory VII. He wrote the Papal Election Decree which stated, thenceforth the pope would be chosen by cardinals. The emperor and the Roman laity would merely give formal approval. Hildebrand spread the word of their elimination of lay control over appointing a pope all over the Empire. He made every place that he visited join his campaign and when he finally was pontificated in 1075 as Pope Gregory VII he immediately issued The Dictate of the Pope. This legislation granted the pope total power over appointing papal officials and deposing and excommunicating anyone against the Church. At this time, Emperor Henry IV had grown up and had just begun showing promise as a strong Emperor.
Unfortunately for Henry IV, Pope Gregory VII had already made several changes in relations between the church and state before he even had a chance to respond. On January 24, 1076, Henry IV sent an offensive letter to the Pope stating that Henry was Emperor not through usurpation but through the holy ordination of God , and that the Pope was not the strong leader that he thought he was, but instead was, not pope but false monk. Pope Gregory VII immediately responded to this letter with a reply which called for the deposing and excommunication of Henry IV. The only response that Henry IV could have was to go to the holy Canossa to apologize for his action and promise to amend his ways. This actually stopped the deposing of the Emperor, but when Henry IV decided to ignore his promise he made to the Pope and continue his fight for papal reform, the Pope once again called for his excommunication and deposing from the papacy.
In response, Henry IV invaded Rome until the Pope called his Norman alliances for help against the Emperor. The Normans came to Rome and drove away the Emperor, but unfortunately for Gregory VII, the Normans also rioted against the Roman townspeople, killing many and selling others to slavery. This changed all of the townspeople s views towards Gregory VII forever and eventually lead to the death of the pope in 1085. Emperor Henry IV was never excommunicated or deposed, but he died years later, in 1085, after spending the majority of his rein in quarrels with Pope Gregory VII and his radical papacy reform.
In conclusion, the interests and papal reform beliefs of popes and their corresponding emperor measured the success of society during this time period. Leo IX and Henry III had similar interests and campaign beliefs while Gregory VII and Henry IV s beliefs contrasted sharply. Since Leo IX and Henry III maintained harmonious relations during their periods of rule, their reform of the papacy was successful. On the other hand, Gregory VII and Henry III were in constant disagreement, which caused papal reform to head in the wrong direction. All in all, during this time period two strong authorities conducted different parts of society, and their relations determined if the civilization would flourish.