The Holy Catholic Church

Great Essays
From humble beginnings to an oppressive doctrine, the Holy Catholic Church truly underwent change throughout the course of Medieval history. Seen in these two letters, Clericis Laicos and Unam Sanctam, are what would seem to be the culmination of all this history: the responses of Pope Boniface VIII to the continued pressures of secular rule and its jurisdiction in relation to the Church and its functioning. With the Church’s rapid increase in size and influence over the past several centuries, coupled with the Kingship’s long history of overreaching ecclesiastical authority, finally a breaking point had been reached. Here is seen, in final, Pope Boniface VIII declaration of the Church’s universal supremacy over all matters of life. The Church, …show more content…
Society was highly ritualized and salvation was thought to be acquired through one’s participation in the Church’s sacraments. To be excluded from such services, to anyone living at that time, meant certain damnation, and thus was a powerful tool instrumental in the Church’s coercion of leaders and its rise to power. This connects well back to our primary document, in particular Pope Boniface VIII’s Clericis Laicos. In the letter, he describes his infuriation over laymen, that is the Emperor and other secular rulers, and their tendency of opposition towards the clergy. Apparently, in what was of recent time, the secular rulers had been abusing their jurisdiction towards the church, taxing and overall taking advantage of it. He also expresses his dissatisfaction with members of the Church and other religiously influential people in how they would comply to such demands with so little resistance, saying that they should rather fear God’s eternal judgement concerning their afterlife than man’s temporary influence on their earthly life. This, in all, leads him to make a decree that anyone who participates in the business of these transactions, whether they be secular rulers or church officials, will be excommunicated with no hope of redemption. A particularly poignant ruling, such is a great example of the Church utilizing its religious authority to hold powerful influence of secular rulers. …show more content…
This is well illustrated in Pope Urban II’s Call to Crusade in which, by much appeal to emotion and tradition, he was successfully able to influence armies of people to embark on the First Crusade, an expedition to reclaim Jerusalem, the Holy Land, and destroy the Arabs and Turks who had supposedly been persecuting their “Christian Brothers.” Among the persuasive arguments presented to his subjects throughout the various accounts of his call, the Pope declares that it’s their duty as Christians to serve God in reclaiming the holy land and stopping the persecution; he also, in one account, states his fear that, if Jerusalem is left in enemy hands, such will lead to the emergence of the Antichrist. However, likely his most persuasive reason or promise given to the people was that those who embarked on the journey would receive pardon of their sins and, essentially, if they died, a guaranteed spot in Heaven. Papal coercion at its finest, this promise likely was the reason for the large turnout during the first Crusade. This indeed goes towards illustrating the strong religious conviction of many persons in Medieval Europe, at least conviction towards personal salvation. This in mind, such a religious atmosphere adds to the conceivable effectiveness of the threat of excommunication within society; people indeed showed a great concern for salvation and, in some sense, great gullibility as

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