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Conflicts with the Emperor and East 1048–1257
The Imperial crown once held by the Carolingian emperors was disputed between their fractured heirs and local overlords; none emerged victorious until Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor means, German Emperor, invaded Italy. Italy became a constituent kingdom of the Holy Roman Empire in 962, from which point the emperors were German. As Emperor has consolidated their position, northern Italian city-states would become divided by Guelphs and Ghibellines. Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor found three rival Popes when he visited Rome in 1048 because of the unprecedented actions of Pope Benedict IX. He deposed all three and installed his own preferred candidate: Pope Clement II.
The history of the papacy from 1048 to 1257 would continue to be marked by conflict between Popes and the Holy Roman Emperor, most prominently the Investiture Controversy, a dispute over who—Pope or Emperor—could appoint bishops within the Empire. Henry IV's Walk to Canossa in 1077 to meet Pope Gregory VII (1073–85), although not disposable within the context of the larger dispute, has become legendary. Although the Emperor renounced any right to lay investiture in the Concordat of Worms (1122), the issue would flare up again.
Long-standing divisions between East and West also came to a head in the East–West Schism and the Crusades. The first seven Ecumenical (concerned with promoting unity among churches) Councils had been attended by both Western and Eastern prelates, but growing doctrinal, theological, linguistic, political and geographic differences finally resulted in mutual denunciations and excommunications. Pope Urban II (1088–99) speech at the Council of Clermont in 1095 became the rallying cry of the First Crusade. This shows that crusades were initiated to fight between two major Christian factions, Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church. Later on, this force was effectively used to subdue Muslim advances towards Europe.
Unlike the previous millennium, the process for papal selection became somewhat fixed during this period. Pope Nicholas II promulgated in 'nomine Domini' in 1059, which limited suffrage in papal elections to the College of Cardinals. The rules and procedures of papal elections evolved during this period, laying the groundwork for the modern 'papal' conclave. The driving force behind these reforms was Cardinal Hildebrand, who later became Gregory VII.
However, subservience was not the papal intention in reinstating the Holy Roman Empire. A clash was inevitable. We see that throughout this period Popes were more as temporal rulers than as spiritual authority even though they did use their special position to impose various restrictions on the rulers who oppose their authority. There was no spiritual discipline in any of the Popes during this period. Many were more corrupt than any ordinary person was. The key to heaven that Jesus had given to Peter was lost for good. Nevertheless, Popes continued to enjoy benefits of that lost key and ever remained Archbishops of Rome by manipulating between kings of European kingdoms, from time to time. Excommunication of Henry IV, a German prince, and other moves of then Popes clearly shows how they used their authority as spiritual head to gain power in political arena.
German princes opposed to Henry IV elect and crowned, in 1077, a rival king - Rudolf, the duke of Swabia. Rudolf and Henry engage in a civil war, which Henry wins in 1080. By then the Pope has recognized Rudolf as the German king and has again excommunicated Henry.
This time Henry's response is more aggressive. He summons a council, which deposes the Pope and elects in his place the Archbishop of Ravenna (as Pope Clement III). Henry marches into Italy, enters Rome and is crowned Emperor by this Pope of his own creation. Meanwhile the real Pope, Gregory, is living in a state of siege in his impregnable Roman fortress, the Castel Sant'Angelo.
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