The Church 9/26/2012 12:05:00 PM
Babylonian Captivity (1305-78)
Great Schism (1378-1417)
Look at the Roman Church structurally
Huge amount of land—there was power associated with the control of the
Until the reformation, there was only one recognized church in the
Western Europe—Roman Catholic Church
The issue of sovereignty was very powerful during the middle ages
(Middle ages: Medieval, 5 —15 thcentury, usually marked from the
collapse of HRE to the Renaissance) —since the Roman Empire collapsed,
collapsed with the sovereignty—who had the authority to rule. There are
two sources of sovereignty—one was the belief that all secular rulers
inherited Roman Imperial Power of the Western Europe; the other was
the sovereignty of the church
There was by the end of the 700-750, Constantine decided to move the
capital; because the pope ..Constantine decided to gave the church to the
pope—the ―donation of Constantine‖. (It was a forged Roman decree in
which Constantine transferred the ruling authority of Rome and western
Roman empire to the church. It was composed probably in the 8 th
century, and used especially in the 13 to support the claims of ruling
power of the papacy) Because of this, the pope believed that he had the
right to rule the country secularly, as well as to rule spiritually—a double
The donation –beginning of the papal sovereignty
By the middle ages, there was two sovereignty—the concept of dual
sovereignty. This was the problem—it was against the mind that they
were looking for a clarity—Guelph (papal) / Ghibelline (the imperial party)
The two sources of power fight continuously. The two sources saw
themselves mutually exclusive. By 13 th century, this debate became constant open warfare—everyone
was born either Guelph (supporting the pope) or Ghibelline (supporting
the imperial power)
The greatest claim to religious power –one pope claimed that he had
Plenitudo Potestatis—complete spiritual and secular power of the pope
(a term used in medieval to describe the jurisdictional power of the
papacy. In the 13 century, the term is used to characterize the power of
the pope within the church. However, during the 13 thcentury the pope's
plenitudo potestatis expanded as the Church became increasingly
centralized, and the pope’s power expanded into legislation, judicial, and
It was however something else to actually deliver power. He wasn’t able
to deliver power as his successors.
The church rule in wealth and power, because the ability to organize and
attack almost any other organizations in the West–it was like the first
centralized gov’t after HRE
The court of the church became extremely important –because if you
swear something to be true, you could be charged
The church had a standard means of procedure ; also you believe that if
you go to the central court, it was fair. So more and more cases was
applied to Rome, there was the Rota (1250s)—the central court / the
religious court itself. It was a good source of income to the church.
The creation of a central tax system was so effective.
The church felt that it had the right and also the structure in place to
collect tax from everyone in the church.
The pope asked every church man to give ¼ of the income—it was not a
lot of money, but the principle was made. In just 20yrs, the pope was
collecting 10% of all the incomes.
It was the first institution to collect income tax from its citizens.
Church had not only the right to collect tax, but the right to exercise
power. It was a powerful instrument.
The pope had the right to appoint a religious person to any kind of
religious job—it was hard to deliver—bad communication, local society.