Medieval Christianity Essay

1985 Words 8 Pages
The Papacy

In the Middle Ages there was a conflict between the Emperor and the Pope that was known as the Investiture Struggle. What was the nature of this conflict between church and state? It concentrates on the papacy and the papal claims to universal authority.
Investiture is defined as the ceremony or act of investing or installing someone in high office. Having that understanding it is easy to see why the question would be asked by the emperor, on what basis and by what authority, did the Bishop of Rome claim power over all other bishops and indeed over all Christians ? Some of the claim was based on biblical passages, but some of it derived from political and cultural realities.
Until Constantine moved
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The Bishops of Rome, and their flock, had generally remained constant. Prestige builds prestige, especially in the west, so Rome gradually became the arbiter of theology and church authority. By the 5th century, it was generally acknowledged that any bishop deposed by a local council could appeal his case to the bishop of Rome. Eastern bishops would avail themselves of this arbitration as well. However none of this would have supported papal claims later in the age when the city of Rome no longer commanded such automatic respect. But the bishop of Rome could always point to the Bible to buttress his claims.
In the Bible, there are passages in which Jesus gives some very specific instructions to Peter. One such passage is recorded in Matthew 16:18-19, it is the reply of Jesus to Peter when Peter acknowledged him as the Christ:
And I say to thee, thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound in Heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth it shall be loosed in Heaven. Another charge frequently quoted was in John 21: 15-17, where Christ gave Peter the threefold command: "Feed my lambs. . . . Feed my lambs. . . . Feed my sheep." Clearly, the popes were the custodians of

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