How Did Pope Gregory Revolutionize The Roman Papacy?

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During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the economy and average quality of life were not the only things that were experiencing a mini renaissance; the roman papacy began to expand its realm of control while infringing on imperial powers in the name of God. Prior to this religious upheaval was a period of time in which Christianity was marred by the stains of corruption in the form of simony and church marriage. A catalyst for reformation of the church was the founding of the Cluny Monastery in Aquitaine, which gained fame for its revolutionized allegiance to Saint Paul and Saint Peter as well as its support of more pragmatic monks (short history 165). The new wave of Cluniac order monasteries inspired the papacy to begin reforming the…show more content…
Pope Leo was not the only revolutionizing Pope during this time; Pope Gregory VII was also an integral part, hence the common term “Gregorian Reform.” In his time, Gregory wrote Dictatus Papae, which made 27 decrees outlining the powers of the pope. One such power was that the “pontiff alone can with right be called universal.” In Gregory’s mind, the pope has all power as he is the lone descendant of Saint Peter, thus he should be granted supreme command. These edicts set a standard for further reformers about how the pope should be respected since his authority should remain fulfilled. Essentially, the pope should not kowtow to anyone as he has the closest relationship with god and therefore he is the closest gateway to heaven. In a sense, Gregory believed that an imperial ruler should have no religious power over the pope because the pope is virtually the earthly arbiter of the king’s access to heaven. Gregory tactically used his connections to god to legitimize his assertion of papal…show more content…
The dominating conflict erupted when a new archbishop of Milan was supposed to be named resulting in the Investiture Conflict. While Henry IV, the king of Germany, thought it was his right to hand over church power and property to the next pope, Pope Gregory VII thought it was only the pope’s right to invest in new church leaders. This hostility can be seen in the letters exchanged between the pope and king in which Henry declares that Gregory has “destroyed the peace” while Gregory provides a counterattack of excommunication (Reading 259). As a result of excommunication, Henry was forced to grovel to the pope for a place back in the church or risk the upheaval of his kingdom. This begging reveals just how critical the pope was in maintaining a stable empire. Essentially, if a king does not have the backing of the pope, then they could potentially lose their empire. The earlier church reform provided a platform for the pope’s power in excommunication as both clergy and lay people alike respected him as the leader of Christendom on earth. Therefore, the reformation period marked the beginning of papal authority and the subservience of imperial kings. Although Henry eventually got excommunicated again for faulting on his promises, the idea behind the first excommunication still stood: papal

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