During the Middle Ages, church and state leaders had many battles. Some who were involved were Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich IV and Pope Gregory VIII; King II and Archbishop Thomas Becket; King Philip IV and Pope Boniface VIII. Their situations were all related by the fact that they were all controversies between an emperor or king and the Catholic church. The Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV and Pope Gregory VIII’s struggle was centered on by investiture. Henry invested many bishops at his own will even though Gregory had banned investiture by laity.
Henry felt his investiture of bishops was necessary to the control of his kingdom, so he kept on doing it. Gregory responded to this by excommunicating Henry. Henry later apologized and received the Pope’s forgiveness. Out of humiliation, he chased Gregory out of Rome and elected a new pope. King Henry II made his close and dear friend Thomas Becket Archbishop of Canterbury in hopes that since he and his friend were so close, Becket would give some power over the Church to Henry.
Instead, Becket refused to do Henry’s bidding and became a fierce champion of the independence and rights of the church. In 1170, Becket was killed during a church mass by four of Henry’s knights. Henry surrendered to the Pope, who threatened him with excommunication. Thomas Becket was later named a saint and is a symbol of the struggle between church and state. Pope Boniface VIII believed that the Pope, whomever he may be, was always in higher power than the reigning king or emperor. Boniface issued a bull saying kings could not tax clergy, yet King Philip IV kept on taxing the Church.
Boniface issued yet another bull titled the Unam Sanctum which stated that there were two powers in the universe: earthly (kings, emperors, etc.) and spiritual (God) and that spiritual is always higher than earthly. Since he represented God, Boniface said he had more power than Philip, but Philip just ignored Boniface’s bull yet once more. Before Boniface could excommunicate Philip, Philip’s soldiers kidnapped Boniface from his palace in Anagni in 1803.
The people of Anagni eventually saved Boniface, but the Pope was so shocked, he soon died. As one can see, all these situations are closely tied together. They may have involved different people, but they all revolved around one thing.
A controversy between church and state.Bibliography: