Thomas Becket Vs Henry II Essay Research — страница 3

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him were only internal enemies of the Church. Yet, he was not willing to give in to Henry’s laws. When Henry ordered him to sign the document of agreement, Becket stormed out of the conference. Becket was not willing to agree with the new laws until the Pope signed documents that showed his consent. The Pope was not willing to sign such a declaration of obedience, so Becket was spared from suffering the embarrassment. While the Pope refused to sign the document, Henry called Becket to a trial at Northampton Castle for failing to appear in a case in the King’s court. The hearing of the royal court lasted 7 days, and the results were demands that the State threw at Becket. The first was to pay a sum of 300 pounds, a large sum, but Becket did not show any bewilderment. The next

day, they told him to pay for the equal amount of money he spent in France while he was Chancellor. On the third, he was asked to pay for every income he received as Chancellor from vacant posts. The third was an impossible task, and could not have been carried out even by the King. Obviously, the court of Northampton wanted Becket to lose his position as Archbishop of Canterbury, not to have him pay the sentence. When a representative of the court came to give Becket his sentence at his home, Becket hollered at him, saying that Becket, as a servant of God, would only be judged by the God or the Pope himself, and will not and cannot be judged by lowly laymen. Becket ran out of the castle walls in anger, making everything accomplished at Northampton null. Henry issued an all-out

chase for Becket to sentence him to death in England, but Becket managed to escape to France in exile before he was caught in England. He spent over seven years in France, where Louis, King of France and enemy of Henry protected him. The Archbishop also managed to talk with the Pope, who nullified the Constitutions of Clarendon. On Henry, Becket threatened the actions of an excommunication or an interdict on all of England to keep him from chasing Becket too far. An interdict on England would strip the whole country of its right to practice religious rites, and would throw on Henry a horrible reputation as King. While in France, Becket stayed in the Cistercian monastery at Pontigny, continuing his religious ways, as Henry stayed in England, grieving over what has happened to

their once blooming friendship. Henry declared that he would crown his eldest son as King, to show his stable position as King of England. As an attempt to heal their shattered relation, a meeting was set up for the two at Fr?teval. At this meeting, where the two were allowed to talk alone with no interruptions, the two agreed to return to England and crown the son properly, with the Archbishop of Canterbury presiding. Yet, there was a conspiracy to murder Becket in England. Becket, being his smart self, overcame this obstacle and managed to ride into London proudly, with the newly crowned prince supporting his entrance. Henry, hearing of this news, was outraged and cried out, “Will somebody deliver me from this lowborn priest!!!” On The 28th of December, the year of

Becket’s return to England, Henry’s 4 loyal knights murdered Becket in a cathedral. The knights had responded to Henry’s cry, and made sure that they ended Becket’s life. After Becket’s death, reports of miracles and religious visions spread throughout all of England. Peasants who followed him mourned and grieved over his death. The Pope, seeing as Becket’s death as Henry’s fault, threatened him with the risk of an excommunication or an interdict. To escape the harsh punishment, Henry agreed to repent for his sin of killing Becket. He walked barefoot through the streets of Canterbury and was whipped by the priests of the Cathedral. The news of Henry’s repent was an embarrassment for Henry, but was the only way for him to escape an interdict. The tale of Thomas

Becket and Henry II is just one example of the struggle for power in the High Middle Ages between the church and the State. Becket’s stubborn obsession for the Church’s authority brought positive effects for the Church, and Henry’s persistent efforts to increase the State’s power brought to his country much stir and conflict. Like any other power struggle, the churchly weapons of excommunication and interdict were what kept the church in command. As the eventful tale of these two men shows, the struggle for power between the Church and the State was not a peaceful dispute. Repeated, controversial conflicts just like this one occurred all over Europe, and like this one, the power never really shifted a great deal