Project Canterbury

Religion and Politics

By Algernon Sidney Crapsey

New York: Thomas Whittaker, 1905.

Chapter VII. The Supremacy of the Church in the West

In the year 452, when Rome was in danger of destruction by the hosts of Attila, the Hun, she owed her salvation, not to the prowess of her Emperor, but to the sanctity of her bishop. [Italy and Her Invaders, T. Hodgkin, bk. 2, chap. iv.] The Scourge of God, as Attila was called, had passed through Germany and Gaul, and had left behind him a desolate waste; he crossed the Alps, and had devastated northern Italy. The city of Aquileia, then famous for its commerce and its wealth, had yielded after a stubborn resistance and had been given over to the rage and lust of the Tartar horde that followed the banners of Attila and the barbarians killed the men, carried the women and children captive, burned the buildings, threw down the walls, and left the city a smoking ruin. So complete was their work of destruction that Aquileia from that day ceased to exist. After the fall of Aquileia there was nothing to prevent the march of [142/143] Attila to Rome. He had only to pass over the Ap-penines, and he would find the city which for ages had ruled the world, unable to offer the least resistance to the invader. The only hope of safety which remained to the panic-striken city lay in the spell which her name still cast upon the rude mind of the barbarian. For, though she had lost her Empire, the city of the Caesars had not altogether lost her prestige. It was not easy for men to shake off that fear and reverence for the city of Rome which during the period of her dominance had become a habit of mind. Attila himself was afraid of the city; not of her armies, for she had none; not of her citizens, for they were at his mercy; it was the city itself that he feared. Taking advantage of this superstitious awe, Rome sent a deputation of her citizens to reason with the Hun, and to persuade him to cross the Alps and give up his intention of conquering Italy. The spokesman of this deputation was Leo, the Bishop of Rome. So deeply did the venerable appearance of the pontiff impress the barbarian leader that he listened to his eloquence, and yielded to his arguments and turned away, leaving Rome a little breathing time before her final overthrow. This Leo was the first of the great bishops who, [143/144] during the next thousand years, built up out of the ruins of the Roman Empire a dominion far more wonderful and enduring than the dominion of the Caesars. In the days of her greatness Rome gave the world the Caesars; and in the days of her decline she established the rule of her popes. And of the two the pope was and is the mightier creation.

As the ancient city of Rome believed that it owed its origin to the favor and intervention of the gods, and therefore was divine, so this new institution within the city traced its origin directly to God. The Bishop of Rome was the direct spiritual successor and descendant of Peter; and Peter was the Apostle of Jesus, the Son of God, to whom the Lord had given the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, and upon whom, as upon a rock, He had built His church. It is a matter of indifference whether Peter was ever in Rome or not. It is enough that before the end of the second century the whole Christian church believed that he had been in Rome, and that the Roman church, if it did not owe to him its foundation, was nevertheless under his Episcopal rule for the first twenty-five years of its existence. That the church of Rome should be looked upon as the most important of all the churches was the natural [144/145] result of the place which the city held in the world. It was the center of Roman life. It was a saying that all roads lead to Rome. From every district of the Empire men were constantly going to or coming from the imperial city. The doings of the city furnished talk for the world. Every movement, religious, political, and social, made a home for itself in Rome, that from Rome it might reach out and influence the world. That Christianity was not an exception to this rule follows as a matter of course. The new religion found a soil rich for the sowing of the seed of truth. [Epistle to the Romans, Paul, chap. 1.] Rome was the home of nearly 10,000 Jews who had their dwelling place in the quarter called the Trastevere about the base of the Janiculutn. This colony of the Hebrews had then, as the Hebrews have now and always, an influence far out of proportion to their numbers. Their race characteristics have not changed in all the centuries. Then, as now, they were a people apart, separated from the world about them by their religious faith and religious practice. The Jews in Rome seem to have been severe and simple in their life and [145/146] thought. They did not, as the Jews in Alexandria and other centers of Greek culture, seek to accommodate the faith of their fathers to Greek ways of thought. They held tenaciously to the traditions of the elders and waited patiently for the redemption of Israel. When the Christian apostle came to Rome he found there men and women of the same characteristics, having the same hopes and fears as the men of Judea and Galilee. The same aspirations that lead to the eager acceptance of the Mes-siahship of Jesus in Jerusalem gave to that Messiah-ship a welcome in the city of Rome. In Rome, as elsewhere, there was a fringe of Gentile life attached to the garment of Judaism. Men of every nation listened with awe to the teaching of the prophets, and feared and reverenced the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was this Gentile fringe that yielded itself to the preaching of the messengers of Christ, and it was really out of this fringe that the apostles and prophets of the Lord made the new garment of Christianity. There is nothing in the history of the world more interesting to the imagination than this movement in the population in the Trastevere in Rome. We can see as in a moving picture men of the character of Peter, simple men, [146/147] conscious of a divine mission, moving in and out among the crowded population of this obscure region of the city; telling, almost whispering, into eager ears their story of the life and death of Jesus, of His resurrection, of His ascension into heaven, and of His expected and speedy return to judge the world in righteousness; to cast down the mighty from their seat, and to exalt the humble and meek. Nowhere could such preaching make its way as it could in this mass of people who had nothing whatever to hope from the world as it was. Nothing but a change as great as that which the coming of Christ would usher in could satisfy these hearts, embittered as they were by the hardness of their lives. The apocalyptic message of Christianity with its crash of worlds was the only message that could rouse these people from their apathy and despair.

The doctrine of the brotherhood of man found a ready response in old Rome, cherishing as it did its democratic instincts. The thirst for distinction, the horror of oblivion and annihilation, were powerful motives moving men to lay hold of the hope that was set before them.

The preaching of Christianity was followed at once by the organization of the church. The [147/148] Christian folk became a peculiar people, living a singular life in startling contrast with the life of the city in which they dwelt. In Rome, but not of Rome, these Christians had their meeting places in the cemeteries where the dead were buried. For centuries the Roman church worshiped God in the darkness of the Catacombs. Those vast subterraneous chambers underneath the city that to-day astonish the visitor are largely the work of the primitive Christian. In them he hid himself from the wrath of the Emperor and the populace, in them he set up his altar and offered his sacrifice, and in them he laid his dead to sleep in the Lord Jesus. A people living in this way could not help generating a spirit of devotion that would in time master the world.

In its organization the Roman church followed the plan of the synagogue, which was the model of the church throughout the world. The bishop, the presbyters, and the deacons ministered to the church in government, in teaching, and in charity. The bishops were the head of the church, having the oversight of its affairs; the presbyters were the hands of the church, breaking the bread of life; the [148/149] deacons were the feet of the church, running upon its errands of mercy. [This perfected organization was the work of the second and third centuries.]

From the first, and of necessity, the bishops of the church in Rome were the leaders of the Christian movement in the world. Being in the shadow of the imperial palace, they were the first to suffer from the outbreaks of imperial wrath. To be chosen bishop of Rome in the days of persecution was an honor only to those who saw in death a way to glory. During the early period of its history the average length of an episcopate was eight years, and to nearly all of those who served the church in the days of her adversity tradition assigns the crown of martyrdom. It was this devotion of the Bishops of Rome to the cause of Christ that gave them their leadership.

When Constantine gave peace to the church, the Roman see was already venerable in the sight of all Christendom. Legend and history combined to make it the holy city of the Christian world. Jerusalem the home of Christianity was in ruins. Nazareth and Bethlehem were obscure provincial towns. It was in Rome that the Christian [149/150] imagination created the world of wonder and miracle in which the human mind was to live for the next thousand years. Already Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God. He was no longer the Son of Man. He was the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. He was far above and out of the reach of man. He, the intercessor, needed someone to intercede with Him. In Peter and Paul the church found its human origin. Especially in Peter; for as Paul was the founder of Christian theology, so was Peter the founder of the Christian church. The Bishop of Rome looked upon himself, not as the successor of Christ, but as the successor of Peter.

When the seat of empire was removed from Rome to Constantinople it left the church of Rome free to develop its own life in accordance with its own genius. The Bishop of Constantinople was the creature of the Emperor, the subservient instrument of imperial power. The Bishop of Rome was independent; he was more than this; he was the most considerable personage in the city of Rome,--its real ruler and guide. He exercised, not only the power which came to him from Peter, but he inherited all the traditions and privileges of republican and imperial Rome. He was the successor both of Peter [150/151] and of Caesar. Unless we clearly grasp the fact that the Roman church is the heir of the Roman Empire, we cannot understand her history, nor the history of the world. From the very first the Roman bishops were conscious of their double inheritance. In season and out of season they insisted that, as bishops of Rome and successors of Peter, they were entitled to the submission of the Christian world, nor was the Christian world slow to admit their claim. The habit of submission to Rome was a part of the Caesarean heritage which came as an heirloom to the see of Rome; and when to that was added the admitted primacy of Peter the way of the Bishop of Rome was made easy. He called himself the Bishop of Bishops, the servant of servants, and from the seventh century he claimed and was allowed the name of Papa, or Pope of all the church, and Papa or Pope he remains to the present day.

The condition of the world, as well as the traditions of the church, favored the pretentions of the Roman see. The Roman church was the creation of Divine Providence. The world needed the church to such a degree that without the church we cannot see how the modern western world could have come into existence.

[152] With the fall of the western Empire in the year 476 the state in the old Roman conception of the word, ceased to be. There was no longer any state in Europe; nothing that could stand, about which human life could center, and upon which human society could rest. For the next eight hundred years Europe was in a state of anarchy. During all those ages there was no center of unity, no stable authority. There was no cities of any consequence, for the men of those ages lived in wagons, and were constantly on the move. There were no fixed boundaries between country and country. Every month saw a new distribution of territory, and every decade the rise and fall of a Kingdom. The inhabitants of Europe were without a history, without a literature, without a home. The languages of Dante, of Voltaire, of Shakespeare and Luther, were as yet unwritten. They existed only as the illiterate speech of the common people, and as the uncouth jargon of the barbarian.

Now in the midst of this confusion there was one center of order, one source of authority, one region of light; and this center of order, this source of authority, this region of light, was the Christian church, as that church was centered in the see of [152/153] Rome. It is the fashion of those who are outside her pale to ascribe the ascendency of the Roman church to the guileful ambition of her pontiffs. But the student of history knows that the great phenomena of history do not admit of so simple an explanation. We can as well lay the 6 foot 3 of the Maine lumberman to his personal ambition as ascribe the dominance of the Roman see to the personal ambition of the Roman bishops. Their ambition was not the cause, it was the consequence, of their supremacy. Institutions, like individuals, are born, and live, and die in obedience to unchangeable biological laws, and neither institution nor individual, by taking thought, can add one cubit to its stature.

Speaking of the reign of Leo I., Charles Gore says: "Circumstances were thrusting greatness upon the see of St. Peter; the glory of the Empire was passing into her hands, the distracted churches of Spain and Africa harassed and torn in pieces by barbarian hordes and wearied with heresies, were in no position to assert independence in any matter, and were only too glad to look to any center whence a measure of strength and organization seemed to [153/154] radiate. [Leo the Great, C. Gore, chaps, vi., vii.] And the popes had not been slow in rising to welcome and promote the greatness with which the current and tendency of the age was investing them." So far were the popes from being the authors of their own greatness that we may almost say that the Papacy existed, not because of them, but in spite of them.

Only a very few men of the 200 and more who have occupied the see of Rome, have been men of marked ability. Most of them were men of the caliber of Polk, and Pierce, rather than Washington and Lincoln. Leo the First was one of these greater men of the Papacy. He had the zeal of a priest combined with the administrative capacity of an Augustus. He laid down the lines that the Roman see has followed ever since in the establishment and maintenance of its Empire. Leo was above all things a governor and an administrator. He had a law of ecclesiastical discipline and a supreme canon of dogmatic truth, and these were his instruments to subdue a troubled world. He cast the spell of authority upon the mind, as well as the will and actions, of men. He regulated the thoughts, as well as the deeds, of his subjects. The Popes of Rome gave their haughty accord to the decrees of [154/155] Nice, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, and gained for themselves the championship of Orthodoxy. They did not waste their strength in the discussion of the questions which tore the church in the east to ribbons, but they waited until the discussion ended in decision, and then they made that decision their own. They had none of the dialectic restlessness of the Greek. They were plain, practical men of affairs, and managed the church as their fathers had managed the Republic and Empire.

After the death of Leo in 461, we do not reach another great Pope until the accession of Gregory in 590. If Leo was the organizer of the Papacy, Gregory was its missionary. The age of Gregory was the age of Catholic expansion. Himself a man of holy life and consecrated genius, he inspired the whole western world with his own zeal. It was Gregory who sent missionaries into England, and converted the Saxon and the Angle to the Catholic faith. He assumed as a matter of right and duty pastoral oversight of Europe. More than 850 of his letters remain to attest his pastoral industry and faithfulness. He administered the vast estates of [155/156] the church with the fidelity of an accountant. His sacramentary is the source of our Collects, and his musical arrangement of the service survives to this present day as the most dignified type of sacred song.

For a century and more after the death of Gregory the church felt the impulse of his life. The sixth and seventh centuries was the great missionary period of the western church. During this era all of the nations of Europe, with the exception of the Scandinavian, were converted to the faith, and Europe became passionately Catholic and Christian. Then began what we call the Ages of Faith. The belief in God, in Christ, in judgment, in heaven, in hell, in angels, in devils, was not in that pale thing that goes by the name of belief in the churches, Catholic and Protestant, of to-day, but it was an overmastering conviction, leaving no room for hesitation or doubt. It was especially this belief in hell that drove men by the thousand into the wilderness to bewail their sins, that created the character of the monk and the nun, and gave rise to the monastic orders. Christianity of the seventh, eighth, and four following centuries took the words of Christ literally, and sought to obey them implicitly. Men took [156/157] the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, and surrendered themselves without reserve to the service of God. We cannot in this lecture treat at large of the history of the monastic orders. We mention them because the monastic orders were the means by which the popes established their dominion over Europe. Every monastery was a fortress, every monk was a soldier devoted to the interests of Papacy. During this whole period it was the one purpose of the papal policy to make the state simply a function of the church. In the city of Rome the bishops had acquired temporal as well as spiritual authority, and there the civil was necessarily subordinate to the spiritual power.

The Pope was a priest first and a magistrate afterward. The temporal power of the church had its origin in a grant of territory by Pepin, King of the Franks, to Pope Stephen III. Stephen had fled from Rome to escape from the hands of the Lombards, who had established themselves in northern Italy, and were pressing toward Rome with the intention of making that city the capital of their Kingdom. At the earnest solicitation of Stephen, Pepin invaded the land of the Lombards, defeated [157/158] them in battle, and drove them beyond the Appe-nines. The territory in the neighborhood of Rome, wrested from the Lombards, was given by the Prankish King to the Pope, to be held and enjoyed by the Apostolic see forever. This donation of Pepin was the origin of the states of the church, which formed the Pope's patrimony, and which he ruled as a temporal sovereign until the year 1871. when the states of the church were merged into the Kingdom of Italy, and Rome became the capital of that Kingdom. The Papal territory was increased by a substantial gift made by the son of Pepin, Karl the Great, to the successor of Stephen. This King, better known by his French name of Charlemagne, was called into Italy to complete the work of delivering the Papacy from the fear of the Lombards. Karl, who was the greatest of the medieval monarchs, broke the power of the Lombards, and added northern Italy to his own dominions.

At this time an event occurred which profoundly influenced the history of Europe for the next thousand years. Karl the Great visited Italy in the winter of 800. On Christmas eve, as he was kneeling at mass, the Pope, Leo III. placed upon his head [158/159] the imperial crown, and he was hailed as Caesar Augustus. This revival of the Empire by the act of the Pope in thus placing the crown on the head of the Frankish King was fraught with bitter consequences both to Italy and Germany. The German monarchs, following the phantom of Empire, neglected to consolidate and organize their own proper Kingdom, so that while France, England, and Spain were growing into well compacted nations, Germany was and remained until 1870 a conglomeration of petty dukedoms owing nominal allegiance to the Emperor, but in reality independent each of the other, without any central government to regulate internal affairs, or to defend the German from foreign aggression. Italy, nominally the home and land of the Emperor, suffered from the same evils that afflicted Germany. Divided into a number of petty states, warring with one another, constantly calling in the barbarian from beyond the Alps to settle its family quarrels, Italy was the battle ground of Europe for a thousand years. The Holy Roman Empire which Leo set up in the person of Karl, and which was nothing but the ghost of the Empire of the Caesars, and of which Voltaire said wittily that it was neither holy Roman nor an empire, haunted [159/160] the political life of Europe for just a thousand and six years. It was created by the act of Leo in the year 800; it was dissolved by a decree of Napoleon in the year 1806. Germany and Italy had to wait nearly a century longer before they could come to their own. Both of these countries were unified as a consequence of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. This act of Leo had a powerful influence upon the relation of the church and state. From that time the Popes began to claim the right to crown and discrown Emperors and Kings. It required two hundred years for the Papacy to make good its claim to universal sovereignty.

With the death of Karl his Empire was dissolved, and western Europe fell once more into anarchic confusion. The next two centuries are the darkest and most disgraceful in the history of western Christendom. For a time it seemed as if Europe was to sink back into a hopeless irreclaimable barbarism. The city of Rome shared to the full in the general confusion. It was during this period that the two houses of Colonna and Orsini made the streets of Rome their battle ground, and divided the city into hostile factions. The Papacy was the [160/161] shuttlecock of the contending parties; beaten to and fro by their battledores, it lost all dignity and all authority within the city. Popes were set up and cast down as this or that party was in the ascendant, until at last the see of Peter was in the gift of the most celebrated courtesan of the age, Theodora, and her equally depraved daughters, Theodora the younger, and Mariposa. That the holy see should have recovered its prestige after this awful degradation is owing to the fact that Europe knew little of what was going on in Rome, and to the further fact that Europe had no other center of unity, no other hope of salvation. When things were at their worst a great revival of religion took place in the monasteries. While all the world was given over to lust and rapine, the serious and the sin sick fled from the world as from the wrath of God and sought the salvation of their souls in the seclusion and sanctity of the monastery. Among the monasteries remarkable for severity of rule and purity of life none surpassed the Monastery of Cluny in Burgundy. The Emperor, Henry III., seeking for a man to whom he might intrust the government of the church with some hope of its reformation and restoration fixed upon Bruno, Bishop of Toul as the person [161/162] most likely to effect his purpose. Bruno went to the city of Rome as a simple priest, and would not assume the office until he was chosen by the clergy and confirmed by the people of his see city. He would owe his episcopate, not to the appointment of the Emperor, but to the free choice of his flock. With Bruno there went to Rome as his chief adviser a man infinitely greater than himself, who was destined to inaugurate and carry out the reformation of the church which the Emperor desired, and then to bring Emperor and Empire into subjection to the see of Rome. Hildebrand, the monk of Cluny, was one of those men whose lives make epochs in the world's history. Holding the office of Archdeacon of Rome during five successive pontificates, he shaped the policy of the Papacy from 1056 to 1122, reigning himself as Pope under the name of Gregory VII. for thirty-eight years from 1074 to his death in 1122. Thus for sixty-six years the papal see was under the dominion of one great master mind. Hildebrand was a churchman. He saw in the church the only hope of the world. He asserted and enforced every claim that had been made for the Apostolic see since the foundation of the church in Rome. The Pope, as the successor of Peter, was [162/163] the vicar of Christ and the vicegerent of God. He was the actual living voice of God in the world; he held in his hand the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, whosesoever sins he remitted they were remitted, and whosesoever sins he retained they were retained. In his warfare on behalf of the church the Pope made use of two powers, the full resource of which is incomprehensible to the modern mind. These weapons of papal warfare were excommunication and the interdict. By excommunication a man was cut off from the congregation of God's people, and sentenced to temporal and eternal damnation. The excommunicate was an outlaw and outcast. It was a crime to hold any intercourse with him or to give him so much as a cup of cold water; and to die excommunicate was to fall at once and forever into the hands of the devil, and to burn eternally in the fire prepared for this same devil and his angels. Imagine, if you can, the horror of one who was thus shut out from the love of God and the love of man. A belief in the power of the priesthood to determine the eternal misery of the human soul, gave to the church a mastery over mankind beside which all other mastery is as the little finger of Solomon to the thigh of Rehoboam. And we [163/164] must remember that for more than a thousand years all Europe lived in terror of the papal and priestly curse.

The excommunication was aimed at rebellious individuals; the interdict at recalcitrant cities and countries. When a city or country offended the papal majesty, the Pope forbade the celebration of the offices of the church in the place which was subject to his displeasure. No church-bell called the people to prayer, new-born children went unbap-tized, the presence of Christ was taken from the altar, the bride went to an unblest marriage bed, and the dead were laid in unhallowed graves. Imagine again, if you can, the horror of a community under interdict that believed with all its heart and soul and mind that its temporal and eternal salvation depended upon the due and proper celebration of the offices of the church, and which accepted the curse of the Pope as the judgment of God. No visitation of the plague was to be compared in its effect upon the happiness of the people with this visitation of the wrath of the vicar of God.

The Popes won this their authority over the people by using it in the first instance for the better government of the world and the salvation of the people. [164/165] Hildebrand wielded this awful power of the church to destroy two great evils, as he considered them, which were sapping the moral life of the church and the world. The first of these abuses was the marriage, or, as he called it the concubinage, of the clergy. He would put between the clergy and the layman an impassible gulf. He would have the clergyman renounce his natural instincts and still the strongest cravings of his heart. He, the clergyman, must leave father and mother, and wife and children, and houses and lands, and devote himself as a whole burnt offering on the altar of the Lord. That Hildebrand succeeded, even partially, in forcing his system upon the church is a tribute to his genius and to his indomitable will. No one, I think, will claim that Hildebrand succeeded in securing the perfect chastity of the clerical order, but the celibacy of that order has been the invariable rule from the days of Hildebrand to the present hour; and to that rule more than to any other fact may be ascribed the solidarity and continuity of the Catholic church. For more than a thousand years that church has never wanted men and women who were ready to sacrifice everything to the cause of the church; who have no life other [165/166] than her life, no interests other than her interests, and it is with this army of devoted men and women that the world has had to deal since and before the time of Gregory VII., and, so far as we can see, will have to deal until Christian time is no more.

The other abuse which roused the anger of Hildebrand, and in the suppression of which he gained a decisive victory for the Papacy, was simony or the sale of ecclesiastical offices. The civil power in the person of the Emperor, the King, or the duke, claimed the right to invest the clergyman into the temporalities of his benefice, and until he was so invested the bishop or the priest could not receive any income from his living. Large sums were paid by the clergy to secure this investiture until it came to pass that ecclesiastical offices were subjects of barter, and had a regular price in the market. Hil-debrand struck at the root of this evil by denying the right of the layman to invest the clergyman into his temporalities, and excommunicating every laymen who should presume to so invest a cleric, and every cleric who should submit to such investiture. As this decree of the Pope deprived the civil power of a large revenue, and as it made the whole body of the clergy independent of the state, it naturally [166/167] roused the opposition of the temporal authorities. The conflict that raged round this question of lay investiture went on for more than a century, and when it ended the substantial victory was with the Papacy. The clergy were freed from the exactions of the state officials; they paid taxes, not to the state, but to the church only, and owed allegiance to no one but the Pope. One of the most dramatic episodes in history is the submission of Henry IV., Emperor and King, to Pope Gregory VII. Excommunicated by the church, abandoned by his army, forsaken by his people, this war lord came to Canosa, in the Appenines where the Pope was staying and for three days stood outside the palace, barefoot in the snow until the haughty prelate was ready to receive him and grudgingly grant him a pardon. This scene at Canosa made a lasting impression on the imagination of Europe. It was an unmistakable sign of the triumph of the Pope.

After the death of Hildebrand his power was transmitted to a line of successors who pursued his policy with unflinching determination. With the reign of Innocent III., 1198-1216, the Papacy [167/168] reached its highest point in power and in glory. This prelate, chosen Pope in the prime of life, a man of commanding genius and unblemished character, was during his pontificate the real ruler of Europe. He interfered in the most minute details of political and domestic life. He excommunicated kings and laid nations under interdict if they in any way roused his displeasure. He consolidated the power of the clergy, and made the government of Europe sacerdotal. His legates sat in council with the Kings and directed their policy. John of England yielded his crown to the Pandulph, the papal legate, and received it back as the Pope's man. During the reign of Innocent impetus was given to the study of canon law, which was amplified into a vast and complicated system. It was the only code of law binding on the clergy, and it interfered at every possible point with the lives of the laity. By assuming to itself the regulation of marriage the church laid its hand upon the very source of life, and by its power of dispensation was able to bind or dissolve at its will.

The power of the popes in the thirteenth century was far greater than that of the Caesars. The state [168/169] had become in a large measure simply a function of the church. Princes were subordinate to priests, and the Pope could say that he was indeed the vicar of that Christ who was King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

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