Thomas Becket Vs Henry II Essay Research — страница 2

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was obvious. What man had more intelligence, more loyalty, more trust from the King than the Chancellor of England? Who would possibly be able to be as perfect as Thomas Becket? To the King, it was obvious that his best and loyal friend was the most appropriate, suitable character for the newly opened position. If Becket were head of the Church of England, there is no way that the royal government would have to struggle or control. Since Becket is Henry’s loyal servant, the power of the church was about to fall right into the hands of Henry. Or so he thought. Thomas Becket changed. His old life of luxury and accessories morphed into a life of strict obedience and religious zeal to God. His loyalty to the King turned into an immobile trust and love for God, and his great mind

was now a property of the Church. When Henry first heard of this unbelievable change in Becket, he sent letter after letter to him just to make sure that his best friend had not sided with his enemy. Sadly, Becket was a man of God now. To show that his converting was no joke, Becket managed over every church court in England personally. He judged cases and handled them like an ideal church official. He set off a trigger in Henry when he excommunicated a noble for rejecting a church official’s order. Excommunication is one of the deadly weapons of a leader of a church, and an excommunication on any person means that he or she is no longer connected from the Church, and is condemned to hell. This was the first spark of a great storm that was to split apart one of the greatest

loyalties and friendships in all of Europe. Thomas Becket and Henry II was no longer the friendly pair of a King and his Noble. Now they were bitter enemies, each representing the Church and the State. Henry struck back with what he could. Seeing that Becket held two advantageous church positions, he raised the issue of Plural Appointments (it was illegal to hold more than one church position) and forced Becket to discard the archdeaconry of Canterbury. He also appointed a Norman monk named Clerambault as the abbot of St. Augustine’s Monastery near Canterbury. The monk was notorious for being slovenly and corrupt, and the monastery had always been a pain in Canterbury’s neck by staying out of its jurisdiction. Henry wanted to aggravate Becket by making annoying changes. Henry

also moved to end the Church’s canon law. He called a trial consisting of a jury, to have the jury decide which law was more appropriate for England. Becket and his scholarly subjects prevailed, and Henry’s first attempt at ending canon law failed. His next stab at the termination of canon law came at the Council of Westminster, where the King and Becket each gave a speech concerning which court system was to be upheld. Bishops and nobles from all over England gathered and sat as the two figures gave their talks. In Becket’s speech, he stated that the royal government has complete control over the Church, “saving our order”; meaning that the royal officials had no control over the Church with the Church’s internal affairs. When Henry asked for every bishop’s poll,

each one agreed to obey the royal government “saving our order”. Henry stormed out of the room, and Becket enjoyed yet another victory for the Church. Although Becket was successful in upholding the Church’s authority against the State, he did not have very many allies in the Church. Powerful figures like the Archbishop of York or the Bishop of London disliked Becket due to his sudden success in the Church, and many other smaller bishops were not willing to take a firm stand against the King. Henry attempted to make a change in England yet again at the Council of Clarendon in January of 1164. Bishops and Nobles from all over England gathered again, and this time, Henry was the obvious victor. The result of the conference was the Constitutions of Clarendon, documents of law

that consisted of 16 articles concerning the position of common and canon law in England. The most important articles of the Constitutions regulated the laws of England in new ways. The King’s justices would, from now on, decide whether to send a case to a church court or to a royal court, and if it went to the church court, a royal officer would attend the case to make sure nothing wrong is done. Church officers no longer had the immunity from punishment, and could no longer escape the sentences handed down by royal officers. No noble was to be excommunicated without the approval of the King, and no church officer was allowed to leave the country without the King’s consent. Thomas Becket was legally defeated. Even the Pope had told him to obey the State’s laws, and around