Europe and the Church under Innocent III

Europe and the Church under Innocent III

Europe and the Church under Innocent III

Europe and the Church under Innocent III

Excerpt

The medieval papacy attained the flood tide of its power in the pontificate of Innocent III. At no other time have its achievements in both ecclesiastical and secular affairs so nearly coincided with its claims to world-wide competency. Innocent III promulgated openly and persistently the same sweeping theories of papal prerogative in Church and in State which his predecessors had hardly dared to commit to writing even in their private papers. Europe listened to him; frequently it obeyed him. Yet only a century later one of his successors, Boniface VIII, suffered ignominious defeat in a great struggle with Philip IV of France. His words were the words of Innocent but they were entirely devoid of any substance of power. The ebbing tide of papal strength displays itself even more forcibly in the great reforming Councils of the fifteenth century since they attacked papal supremacy in the Church itself. It is a far cry from the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 to the decree Sacrosancta of the Council of Constance in 1415. The former ratifies the monarchical organization of the Church under . . .

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