The Rise And Fall Of The Papacy — страница 2

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set up, both claiming to be the only lawful successor the Roman Empire, and it was merely a matter of time before one or other had to be destroyed. The bitter conflict between these two competitors, which ended with the fall of the Byzantine Empire in the fifteenth century, involved the Church also, and was thus the root cause of the schism between the Christian East and West. This would leave an opportunity open for the Crusaders. For the West, the events of the Crusades began in an aura of optimism but ended with disaster and disunity for the Church. After the death of Charlemagne, the military authority that had supported the Papacy began to decline. The Norman incursions into Italy posed a real threat to the Church, and the Papacy in 1059 acknowledged its inability to face

any threat from a Norman invasion. At this time a request arrived from the Eastern Emperor for assistance against encroachments by Moslem forces into the Holy Lands. Urban II called together on the faithful to mount a crusade, appealing to the spirit of faith, to regain the Holy Lands from the sacrilegious hands of Islam while drawing attention to the political benefits of such a venture. Barraclough states that “The Crusades to the Holy Lands were the most spectacular and self-conscious act of Western Christian expansionism which represented a fusion of three characteristics of medieval man: piety, pugnacity, and greed”.In a very real sense, Innocent’s reign saw the zenith of the papal monarchy A narrower hierarchical church had replaced the Church as a community of the

faithful, comprising clerical orders in ascending ranks jealously guarding their rights and privileges. Even the reforming Fourth Lateran Council had its program imposed upon it by Innocent, and in reality it was to the papacy that the people looked to reform the Church. Innocent’s pontificate presents for church historians a dramatic dichotomy – the institutionalised church beginning to give birth to the servant Church. In terms of models of Church, Innocent III’s- pontificate resembled a Tyranny: A Church which was so structured that all power and authority came from one person; a Church which was brutal and violent through the Crusades and the Inquisition; and most convincingly a Church that stood for no opposition to its beleifs or its authority. The 12th and 13th

centuries were a time of change not only in the ecclesiastical but also secular spheres. Canon law became a power that produced not only a highly organised, political and central papacy, but also a power that so influenced societal law, that it gave rise to a new secular order and a culture that was almost totally ecclesiastical (Congar, 1969). Durin this century the uprooting of the papacy from Rome and its re- establishment in Avignon took place for a period for almost seventy years. However by the end of the fourteenth century the papacy was in turmoil and disarray , forced into another schism which saw three rival popes enthroned simultaneously in confusion and conflict.Religious life suffered as a consequence of the schism, for “Christendom looked upon the scandal helpless

and depressed, and yet impotent to remove it. With two sections of Christendom each declaring the other lost, each cursing and denouncing the other, men soberly asked who was saved” (Flick, 1930). Doubt and confusion caused many to question the legitimacy and true holiness of the church as an institution. In the West, the excesses that affected the church ultimately called for radical reform through that movement which we now identify with the Protestant Reformation.This period of moral decline was instrumental in leading to a Western Schism within Christendom, in which three Popes and anti-Popes concurrently contested control over the See of Peter. The popes refused to have negotiations to effect reform, and they failed to bring about reform themselves. ” Thus the papacy

emerged as something between an Italian city-state and a European power, without forgetting at the same time the claim to be the vice-regent of Christ. The pope often could not make up his own mind whether he was the successor of Peter or of Caesar. Such vacillation had much to do with the rise and success… of the Reformation” (Bainton, 1952). By the mid-fifteenth century the Church was in urgent need of drastic reform which, when effected, would have lasting impact on the religious and secular history of Europe. Bibliography Barraclough, G. The Medieval Papacy, Thames and Hudson London, 1968. Flick, A.C. Decline of the Medieval Church, vol. I London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., 1930. Congar, Y. Faith and Spiritual Life, Darton, Longman & Todd, London. 1969.