Canonical St. Augustines Confessions

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Following the inceptive imperial coronation of Charlemagne 400 years after the widespread adoption of Christianity (c. 800 AD), the new theocratic government of the Holy Roman Empire was faced with a monumental challenge: reconciling their subject’s god given freewill with law. As the defining institution of the Holy Roman Empire, the religious schemas taught by Church’s became inextricably wound with politics. One by one, laws were enforced with divine benediction, repurposing the already well-defined belief system into a power structure benefitting those with the divine right to construe the bible to the public – the papacy. In this way, views of Christianity drifted away from the self-humbling image of personal Christian relationships presented …show more content…
Augustines Confessions, because the Church emphasized the authority of a papal intermediary, giving credence to the hierarchy of the decorous Roman Catholic Church as a ruling institution. Criticisms of the clergy’s ability to limit the “righteousness or freedom” of the pious individual such as in Dante’s Inferno or Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales culminate to produce the Reformation, which is ultimately an expression of human freewill in contrast of the traditions set forth by the Roman Catholic Church. Most subjects of the late Holy Roman Empire would probably have been surprised to learn that the Christianity that lived underground during its prosecution differed greatly from the State Church’s Christianity codified during the Council of Nicea. How is it that Christianity survived despite persecution for over 200 years? St. Augustine, a bishop at the time, wrote Confessions following the acceptance of Christianity as a public admonition of his own sins and as a template for conversion. He freely paints himself as a sinner, showcasing his personal struggles to justify himself by God who he views as actively protecting and guiding his path. He …show more content…
Although both the ecclesiastical and secular institutions operated mostly independently, the influence of the Church greatly steered legislation and many of the clergy held positions of power. In 1073, the excommunication of Henry VI sent him groveling to Pope Gregory VII to save his throne from revolting barons. In 1095, a Byzantine emperor sent the Pope for military aid, leading to the Pope Urban II’s calling for the Crusades. Clearly, the ecclesiastical court held much influence over policy. The principle of divine right of kings tied the Church’s interests to the State, whose laws they gave credence when the two sectors worked synergistically. This institution for structure of the Holy See, coopted from the hierarchal structure of the Roman government, motivates the taxing of common man by promoting a structure that rewards man for their good works – or their tithes. Regardless of one’s relationship with God, the patronage of an institution as divine as the Church was justification enough to go to heaven. In this way, the private relationship with god found through individual interpretation of scripture that arguably initially enticed its followers was monetized and restricted, supporting the inequality created by the power structure of the State. Rumblings against their growing corruption can be heard

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