Vol. 6, Chapter I (Cont'd) - Literary Attacks against the PapacySkip to content
Vol. 6, Chapter I (Cont’d) – Literary Attacks against the Papacy
5. Nothing is more indicative of the intellectual change going on in Western Europe in the fourteenth century than the tractarian literature of the time directed against claims made by the papacy. Three periods may be distinguished. In the first belong the tracts called forth by the struggle of Philip the Fair and Boniface VIII., with the year 1302 for its centre. Their distinguishing feature is the attack made upon the pope’s jurisdiction in temporal affairs. The second period opens during the pontificate of John XXII. and extends from 1320-1340. Here the pope’s spiritual supremacy was attacked. The most prominent writer of the time was Marsiglius of Padua. The third period begins with the papal schism toward the end of the fourteenth century. The writers of this period emphasized the need of reform in the Church and discussed the jurisdiction of general councils as superior to the jurisdiction of the pope. The publicists of the age of Boniface VIII. and Philip the Fair now defended, now openly attacked the mediaeval theory of the pope’s lordship over kings and nations. The body of literature they produced was unlike anything which Europe had seen before. In the conflict between Gregory IX. and Frederick II., Europe was filled with the epistolary appeals of pope and emperor, who sought each to make good his case before the court of European public opinion, and more especially of the princes and prelates. The controversy of this later time was participated in by a number of writers who represented the views of an intelligent group of clerics and laymen. They employed a vigorous style adapted to make an impression on the public mind. Stirred by the haughty assertions of Boniface, a new class of men, the jurisconsults, entered the lists and boldly called in question the old order represented by the policy of Hildebrand and Innocent III. They had studied in the universities, especially in the University of Paris, and some of them, like Dubois, were laymen. The decision of the Bologna jurists on the field of Roncaglia was reasserted with new arguments and critical freedom, and a step was taken far in advance of that decision which asserted the independence of the emperor. The empire was set aside as an antiquated institution, and France and other states were pronounced sovereign within their own limits and immune from papal dominion over their temporal affairs. The principles of human law and the natural rights of man were arrayed against dogmatic assertions based upon unbalanced and false interpretations of Scripture. The method of scholastic sophistry was largely replaced by an appeal to common sense and regard for the practical needs of society. The authorities used to establish the new theory were Aristotle, the Scriptures and historic facts. These writers were John the Baptists preparing the way for the more clearly outlined and advanced views of Marsiglius of Padua and Ockam, who took the further step of questioning or flatly denying the pope’s spiritual supremacy, and for the still more advanced and more spiritual appeals of Wyclif and Luther. A direct current of influence can be traced back from the Protestant Reformation to the anti-papal tracts of the first decade of the fourteenth century. The tract writers of the reign of Philip the Fair, who defended the traditional theory of the pope’s absolute supremacy in all matters, were the Italians Aegidius Colonna, James of Viterbo, Henry of Cremona, and Augustinus Triumphus. The writers who attacked the papal claim to temporal power are divided into two groups. To the first belongs Dante, who magnified the empire and the station of the emperor as the supreme ruler over the temporal affairs of men. The men of the second group were associated more or less closely with the French court and were, for the most part, Frenchmen. They called in question the authority of the emperor. Among their leaders were John of Paris and Peter Dubois. In a number of cases their names are forgotten or uncertain, while their tracts have survived. It will be convenient first to take up the theory of Dante, and then to present the views of papal and anti-papal writings which were evidently called forth by the struggle started by Boniface. Dante was in nowise associated with the court of Philip the Fair, and seems to have been moved to write his treatise on government, the De monarchia, by general considerations and not by any personal sympathy with the French king. His theory embodies views in direct antagonism to those promulged in Boniface’s bull Unam sanctam, and Thomas Aquinas, whose theological views Dante followed, is here set aside. The independence and sovereignty of the civil estate is established by arguments drawn from reason, Aristotle, and the Scriptures. In making good his position, the author advances three propositions, devoting a chapter to each: (1) Universal monarchy or empire, for the terms are used synonymously, is necessary. (2) This monarchy belongs to the Roman people. (3) It was directly bequeathed to the Romans by God, and did not come through the mediation of the Church. The interests of society, so the argument runs, require an impartial arbiter, and only a universal monarch bound by no local ties can be impartial. A universal monarchy will bring peace, the peace of which the angels sang on the night of Christ’s birth, and it will bring liberty, God’s greatest gift to man. Democracy reduces men to slavery. The Romans are the noblest people and deserve the right to rule. This is evident from the fine manhood of Aeneas, their progenitor, from the evident miracles which God wrought in their history and from their world-wide dominion. This right to rule was established under the Christian dispensation by Christ himself, who submitted to Roman jurisdiction in consenting to be born under Augustus and to suffer under Tiberius. It was attested by the Church when Paul said to Festus, “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged,” Act_25:10. There are two governing agents necessary to society, the pope and the emperor. The emperor is supreme in temporal things and is to guide men to eternal life in accordance with the truths of revelation. Nevertheless, the emperor should pay the pope the reverence which a first-born son pays to his father, such reverence as Charlemagne paid to Leo III. In denying the subordination of the civil power, Dante rejects the figure comparing the spiritual and temporal powers to the sun and moon, and the arguments drawn from the alleged precedence of Levi over Judah on the ground of the priority of Levi’s birth; from the oblation of the Magi at the manger and from the sentence passed upon Saul by Samuel. He referred the two swords both to spiritual functions. Without questioning the historical occurrence, he set aside Constantine’s donation to Sylvester on the ground that the emperor no more had the right to transfer his empire in the West than he had to commit suicide. Nor had the pope a right to accept the gift. In the Inferno Dante applied to that transaction the oft-quoted lines: — “Ah, Constantine, of how much ill was cause, Not thy conversion, but those rich domains Which the first wealthy pope received of thee.” The Florentine poet’s universal monarchy has remained an ideal unrealized, like the republic of the Athenian philosopher. Conception of popular liberty as it is conceived in this modern age, Dante had none. Nevertheless, he laid down the important principle that the government exists for the people, and not the people for the government. The treatise De monarchia was burnt as heretical, 1329, by order of John XXII. and put on the Index by the Council of Trent. In recent times it has aided the Italian patriots in their work of unifying Italy and separating politics from the Church according to Cavour’s maxim, “a free Church in a free state.” In the front rank of the champions of the temporal power of the papacy stood Aegidius Colonna, called also Aegidius Romanus, 1247-1316. He was an Augustinian, and rose to be general of his order. He became famous as a theological teacher and, in 1287, his order placed his writings in all its schools. In 1295 he was made archbishop of Bourges, Boniface setting aside in his favor the cleric nominated by Coelestine. Aegidius participated in the council in Rome, 1301, which Philip the Fair forbade the French prelates to attend. He was an elaborate writer, and in 1304 no less than 12 of his theological works and 14 of his philosophical writings were in use in the University of Paris. The tract by which Aegidius is chiefly known is his Power of the Supreme Pontiff — De ecclesiastica sive de summit pontificis potestate. It was the chief work of its time in defence of the papacy, and seems to have been called forth by the Roman Council and to have been written in 1301. It was dedicated to Boniface VIII. Its main positions are the following: — The pope judges all things and is judged by no man, 1Co_2:15. To him belongs plenary power, plenitudo potestatis. This power is without measure, without number, and without weight. It extends over all Christians. The pope is above all laws and in matters of faith infallible. He is like the sea which fills all vessels, like the sun which, as the universally active principle, sends his rays into all things. The priesthood existed before royalty. Abel and Noah, priests, preceded Nimrod, who was the first king. As the government of the world is one and centres in one ruler, God, so in the affairs of the militant Church there can be only one source of power, one supreme government, one head to whom belongs the plenitude of power. This is the supreme pontiff. The priesthood and the papacy are of immediate divine appointment. Earthly kingdoms, except as they have been established by the priesthood, owe their origin to usurpation, robbery, and other forms of violence. In these views Aegidius followed Augustine: De civitate, IV. 4, and Gregory VII. The state, however, he declared to be necessary as a means through which the Church works to accomplish its divinely appointed ends. In the second part of his tract, Aegidius proves that, in spite of Num_18:20, Num_18:21, and Luk_10:4, the Church has the right to possess worldly goods. The Levites received cities. In fact, all temporal goods are under the control of the Church. As the soul rules the body, so the pope rules over all temporal matters. The tithe is a perpetual obligation. No one has a right to the possession of a single acre of ground or a vineyard without the Church’s permission and unless he be baptized. The fulness of power, residing in the pope, gives him the right to appoint to all benefices in Christendom, but, as God chooses to rule through the laws of nature, so the pope rules through the laws of the Church, but he is not bound by them. He may himself be called the Church. For the pope’s power is spiritual, heavenly and divine. Aegidius was used by his successors, James of Viterbo, Augustinus Triumphus and Alvarus, and also by John of Paris and Gerson who contested some of his main positions. The second of these writers, defending the position of Boniface VIII., was James of Viterbo, d. 1308. He also was an Italian, belonged to the Augustinian order, and gained prominence as a teacher in Paris. In 1302 he was appointed by Boniface archbishop of Beneventum, and a few months later archbishop of Naples. His Christian Government — De regimine christiano — is, after the treatise of Aegidius, the most comprehensive of the papal tracts. It also was dedicated to Boniface VIII., who is addressed as “the holy lord of the kings of the earth.” The author distinctly says he was led to write by the attacks made upon the papal prerogative. To Christ’s vicar, James says, royalty and priesthood, regnum et sacerdotium, belong. Temporal authority was not for the first time conferred on him when Constantine gave Sylvester the dominion of the West. Constantine did nothing more than confirm a previous right derived from Christ, when he said, “whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” Priests are kings, and the pope is the king of kings, both in mundane and spiritual matters. He is the bishop of the earth, the supreme lawgiver. Every soul must be subject to him in order to salvation. By reason of his fulness of power, the supreme pontiff can act according to law or against it, as he chooses. Henry of Cassaloci, or Henry of Cremona, as he is usually called from his Italian birthplace, d. 1312, is mentioned, contrary to the custom of the age, by name by John of Paris, as the author of the tract, The Power of the Pope — De potestate papae. He was a distinguished authority in canon law and consulted by Boniface. He was appointed, 1302, a member of the delegation to carry to Philip the Fair the two notorious bulls, Salvator mundi and Ausculta fili. The same year he was appointed bishop of Reggio. The papal defenders were well paid. Henry began his tract with the words of Mat_27:18, “All power is given unto me,” and declared the attack against the pope’s temporal jurisdiction over the whole earth a matter of recent date, and made by “sophists” who deserved death. Up to that time no one had made such denial. He attempts to make out his fundamental thesis from Scripture, the Fathers, canon law, and reason. God at first ruled through Noah, the patriarchs, Melchizedec, and Moses, who were priests and kings at the same time. Did not Moses punish Pharaoh? Christ carried both swords. Did he not drive out the money-changers and wear the crown of thorns? To him the power was given to judge the world. Joh_5:22. The same power was entailed upon Peter and his successors. As for the state, it bears to the Church the relation of the moon to the sun, and the emperor has only such power as the pope is ready to confer. Henry also affirms that Constantine’s donation established no right, but confirmed what the pope already possessed by virtue of heavenly gift. The pope transferred the empire to Charlemagne, and Innocent IV. asserted the papal supremacy over kings by deposing Frederick II. If in early and later times the persons of popes were abused, this was not because they lacked supreme authority in the earth or were in anywise subject to earthly princes. No emperor can legally exercise imperial functions without papal consecration. When Christ said, “my kingdom is not of this world,” he meant nothing more than that the world refused to obey him. As for the passage, “render to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s,” Christ was under no obligation to give tribute to the emperor, and the children of the kingdom are free, as Augustine, upon the basis of Mat_27:26 sq., said. The main work of another defender of the papal prerogatives, Augustinus Triumphus, belongs to the next period. An intermediate position between these writers and the anti-papal publicists was taken by the Cardinals Colonna and their immediate supporters. In their zeal against Boniface VIII. they questioned the absolute power of the Church in temporal concerns, and placed the supreme spiritual authority in the college of cardinals, with the pope as its head. Among the advanced writers of the age was William Durante, d. 1381, an advocate of Gallicanism. He was appointed bishop of Mende before he had reached the canonical age. He never came under the condemnation of the Church. In a work composed at the instance of Clement V. on general councils and the reformation of Church abuses, De modo generalis concilii celebrandi et corruptelis in ecclesiis reformandis, he demanded a reformation of the Church in head and members, using for the first time this expression which was so often employed in a later age. He made the pope one of the order of bishops on all of whom was conferred equally the power to bind and to loose. The bishops are not the pope’s assistants, the view held by Innocent III., but agents directly appointed by God with independent jurisdiction. The pope may not act out of harmony with the canons of the early Church except with the approval of a general council. When new measures are contemplated, a general council should be convened, and one should be called every ten years. Turning now to the writers who contested the pope’s right to temporal authority over the nations, we find that while the most of them were clerics, all of them were jurists. It is characteristic that besides appealing to Aristotle, the Scriptures, and the canon law, they also appealed to the Roman law. We begin with several pamphlets whose authorship is a matter of uncertainty. The Twofold Prerogative — Quaestio in utramque partem — was probably written in 1302, and by a Frenchman. The tract clearly sets forth that the two functions, the spiritual and the temporal, are distinct, and that the pope has plenary power only in the spiritual realm. It is evident that they are not united in one person, from Christ’s refusal of the office of king and from the law prohibiting the Levites holding worldly possessions. Canon law and Roman law recognized the independence of the civil power. Both estates are of God. At best the pope’s temporal authority extends to the patrimony of Peter. The empire is one among the powers, without authority over other states. As for the king of France, he would expose himself to the penalty of death if he were to recognize the pope as overlord. The same positions are taken in the tract, The Papal Power, — Quaestio de potestate papae. The author insists that temporal jurisdiction is incompatible with the pope’s office. He uses the figure of the body to represent the Church, giving it a new turn. Christ is the head. The nerves and veins are officers in the Church and state. They depend directly upon Christ, the head. The heart is the king. The pope is not even called the head. The soul is not mentioned. The old application of the figure of the body and the soul, representing respectively the regnum and the sacerdotium, is set aside. The pope is a spiritual father, not the lord over Christendom. Moses was a temporal ruler and Aaron was priest. The functions and the functionaries were distinct. At best, the donation of Constantine had no reference to France, for France was distinct from the empire. The deposition of Childerich by Pope Zacharias established no right, for all that Zacharias did was, as a wise counsellor, to give the barons advice. A third tract, one of the most famous pieces of this literature, the Disputation between a Cleric and a Knight, was written to defend the sovereignty of the state and its right to levy taxes upon Church property. The author maintains that the king of France is in duty bound to see that Church property is administered according to the intent for which it was given. As he defends the Church against foreign foes, so he has the right to put the Church under tribute. In the publicist, John of Paris, d. 1306, we have one of the leading minds of the age. He was a Dominican, and enjoyed great fame as a preacher and master. On June 26, 1303, he joined 132 other Parisian Dominicans in signing a document calling for a general council, which the university had openly favored five days before. His views of the Lord’s Supper brought upon him the charge of heresy, and he was forbidden to give lectures at the university. He appealed to Clement V., but died before he could get a hearing. John’s chief writing was the tract on the Authority of the Pope and King, — De potestate regia et papali, — which almost breathes the atmosphere of modern times. John makes a clear distinction between the “body of the faithful,” which is the Church, and the “body of the clergy.” The Church has its unity in Christ, who established the two estates, spiritual and temporal. They are the same in origin, but distinguished on earth. The pope has the right to punish moral offences, but only with spiritual punishments. The penalties of death, imprisonment, and fines, he has no right to impose. Christ had no worldly jurisdiction, and the pope should keep clear of “Herod’s old error.” Constantine had no right to confer temporal power on Sylvester. John adduced 42 reasons urged in favor of the pope’s omnipotence in temporal affairs and offers a refutation for each of them. As for the pope’s place in the Church, the pope is the representative of the ecclesiastical body, not its lord. The Church may call him to account. If the Church were to elect representatives to act with the supreme pontiff, we would have the best of governments. As things are, the cardinals are his advisers and may admonish him and, in case he persists in his error, they may call to their aid the temporal arm. The pope may be deposed by an emperor, as was actually the case when three popes were deposed by Henry III. The final seat of ecclesiastical authority is the general council. It may depose a pope. Valid grounds of deposition are insanity, heresy, personal incompetence and abuse of the Church’s property. Following Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, John derived the state from the family and not from murder and other acts of violence. It is a community organized for defence and bodily well-being. With other jurists, he regarded the empire as an antiquated institution and, if it continues to exist, it is on a par with the monarchies, not above them. Climate and geographical considerations make different monarchies necessary, and they derive their authority from God. Thus John and Dante, while agreeing as to the independence of the state, differ as to the seat where secular power resides. Dante placed it in a universal empire, John of Paris in separate monarchies. The boldest and most advanced of these publicists, Pierre Dubois, was a layman, probably a Norman, and called himself a royal attorney. As a delegate to the national council in Paris, April, 1302, he represented Philip’s views. He was living as late as 1321. In a number of tracts he supported the contention of the French monarch against Boniface VIII. France is independent of the empire, and absolutely sovereign in all secular matters. The French king is the successor of Charlemagne. The pope is the moral teacher of mankind, “the light of the world,” but he has no jurisdiction in temporal affairs. It is his function to care for souls, to stop wars, to exercise oversight over the clergy, but his jurisdiction extends no farther. The pope and clergy are given to worldliness and self-indulgence. Boniface is a heretic. The prelates squander the Church’s money in wars and litigations, prefer the atmosphere of princely courts, and neglect theology and the care of souls. The avarice of the curia and the pope leads them to scandalous simony and nepotism. Constantine’s donation marked the change to worldliness among the clergy. It was illegal, and the only title the pope can show to temporal power over the patrimony of Peter is long tenure. The first step in the direction of reforms would be for clergy and pope to renounce worldly possessions altogether. This remedy had been prescribed by Arnold of Brescia and Frederick II. Dubois also criticised the rule and practice of celibacy. Few clergymen keep their vows. And yet they are retained, while ordination is denied to married persons. This is in the face of the fact that the Apostle permitted marriage to all. The practice of the Eastern church is to be preferred. The rule of single life is too exacting, especially for nuns. Durante had proposed the abrogation of the rule, and Arnald of Villanova had emphasized the sacredness of the marriage tie, recalling that it was upon a married man, Peter, that Christ conferred the primacy. Dubois showed the freshness of his mind by suggestions of a practical nature. He proposed the colonization of the Holy Land by Christian people, and the marriage of Christian women to Saracens of station as a means of converting them. As a measure for securing the world’s conversion, he recommended to Clement the establishment of schools for boys and girls in every province, where instruction should be given in different languages. The girls were to be taught Latin and the fundamentals of natural science, and especially medicine and surgery, that they might serve as female physicians among women in the more occult disorders. A review of the controversial literature of the age of Philip the Fair shows the new paths along which men’s thoughts were moving. The papal apologists insisted upon traditional interpretations of a limited number of texts, the perpetual validity of Constantine’s donation, and the transfer of the empire. They were forever quoting Innocent’s famous bull, Per venerabilem. On the other hand, John of Paris, and the publicists who sympathized with him, as also Dante, corrected and widened the vision of the field of Scripture, and brought into prominence the common rights of man. The resistance which the king of France offered to the demands of Boniface encouraged writers to speak without reserve. The pope’s spiritual primacy was left untouched. The attack was against his temporal jurisdiction. The fiction of the two swords was set aside. The state is as supreme in its sphere as the Church in its sphere, and derives its authority immediately from God. Constantine had no right to confer the sovereignty of the West upon Sylvester, and his gift constitutes no valid papal claim. Each monarch is supreme in his own realm, and the theory of the overlordship of the emperor is abandoned as a thing out of date. The pope’s tenure of office was made subject to limitation. He may be deposed for heresy and incompetency. Some writers went so far as to deny to him jurisdiction over Church property. The advisory function of the cardinals was emphasized and the independent authority of the bishops affirmed. Above all, the authority residing in the Church as a body of believers was discussed, and its voice, as uttered through a general council, pronounced to be superior to the authority of the pope. The utterances of John of Paris and Peter Dubois on the subject of general councils led straight on to the views propounded during the papal schism at the close of the fourteenth century. Dubois demanded that laymen as well as clerics should have a voice in them. The rule of clerical celibacy was attacked, and attention called to its widespread violation in practice. Pope and clergy were invoked to devote themselves to the spiritual well-being of mankind, and to foster peaceable measures for the world’s conversion. This freedom of utterance and changed way of thinking mark the beginning of one of the great revolutions in the history of the Christian Church. To these publicists the modern world owes a debt of gratitude. Principles which are now regarded as axiomatic were new for the Christian public of their day. A generation later, Marsiglius of Padua defined them again with clearness, and took a step still further in advance. 6. The Transfer of the Papacy to Avignon The successor of Boniface, Benedict XI., 1303-1304, a Dominican, was a mild-spirited and worthy man, more bent on healing ruptures than on forcing his arbitrary will. Departing from the policy of his predecessor, he capitulated to the state and put an end to the conflict with Philip the Fair. Sentences launched by Boniface were recalled or modified, and the interdict pronounced by that pope upon Lyons was revoked. Palestrina was restored to the Colonna. Only Sciarra Colonna and Nogaret were excepted from the act of immediate clemency and ordered to appear at Rome. Benedict’s death, after a brief reign of eight months, was ascribed to poison secreted in a dish of figs, of which the pope partook freely. The conclave met in Perugia, where Benedict died, and was torn by factions. After an interval of nearly eleven months, the French party won a complete triumph by the choice of Bertrand de Got, archbishop of Bordeaux, who took the name of Clement V. At the time of his election, Bertrand was in France. He never crossed the Alps. After holding his court at Bordeaux, Poictiers, and Toulouse, he chose, in 1309, Avignon as his residence. Thus began the so-called Babylonian captivity, or Avignon exile, of the papacy, which lasted more than seventy years and included seven popes, all Frenchmen, Clement V., 1305-1314; John XXII., 1316-1334; Benedict XII., 1334-1342; Clement VI., 1342-1352; Innocent VI., 1352-1362; Urban V., 1362-1370; Gregory XI., 1370-1378. This prolonged absence from Rome was a great shock to the papal system. Transplanted from its maternal soil, the papacy was cut loose from the hallowed and historical associations of thirteen centuries. It no longer spake as from the centre of the Christian world. The way had been prepared for the abandonment of the Eternal City and removal to French territory. Innocent II. and other popes had found refuge in France. During the last half of the thirteenth century the Apostolic See, in its struggle with the empire, had leaned upon France for aid. To avoid Frederick II., Innocent IV. had fled to Lyons, 1245. If Boniface VIII. represents a turning-point in the history of the papacy, the Avignon residence shook the reverence of Christendom for it. It was in danger of becoming a French institution. Not only were the popes all Frenchmen, but the large majority of the cardinals were of French birth. Both were reduced to a station little above that of court prelates subject to the nod of the French sovereign. At the same time, the popes continued to exercise their prerogatives over the other nations of Western Christendom, and freely hurled anathemas at the German emperor and laid the interdict upon Italian cities. The word might be passed around, “where the pope is, there is Rome,” but the wonder is that the grave hurt done to his ecumenical character was not irreparable. The morals of Avignon during the papal residence were notorious throughout Europe. The papal household had all the appearance of a worldly court, torn by envies and troubled by schemes of all sorts. Some of the Avignon popes left a good name, but the general impression was bad — weak if not vicious. The curia was notorious for its extravagance, venality, and sensuality. Nepotism, bribery, and simony were unblushingly practised. The financial operations of the papal family became oppressive to an extent unknown before. Indulgences, applied to all sorts of cases, were made a source of increasing revenue. Alvarus Pelagius, a member of the papal household and a strenuous supporter of the papacy, in his De planctu ecclesiae, complained bitterly of the speculation and traffic in ecclesiastical places going on at the papal court. It swarmed with money-changers, and parties bent on money operations. Another contemporary, Petrarch, who never uttered a word against the papacy as a divine institution, launched his satires against Avignon, which he called “the sink of every vice, the haunt of all iniquities, a third Babylon, the Babylon of the West.” No expression is too strong to carry his biting invectives. Avignon is the “fountain of afflictions, the refuge of wrath, the school of errors, a temple of lies, the awful prison, hell on earth.” But the corruption of Avignon was too glaring to make it necessary for him to invent charges. This ill-fame gives Avignon a place at the side of the courts of Louis XIV. and Charles II. of England. During this papal expatriation, Italy fell into a deplorable condition. Rome, which had been the queen of cities, the goal of pilgrims, the centre towards which the pious affections of all Western Europe turned, the locality where royal and princely embassies had sought ratification for ambitious plans — Rome was now turned into an arena of wild confusion and riot. Contending factions of nobles, the Colonna, Orsini, Gaetani, and others, were in constant feud, and strove one with the other for the mastery in municipal affairs and were often themselves set aside by popular leaders whose low birth they despised. The source of her gains gone, the city withered away and was reduced to the proportions, the poverty, and the dull happenings of a provincial town, till in 1370 the population numbered less than 20,000. She had no commerce to stir her pulses like the young cities in Northern and Southern Germany and in Lombardy. Obscurity and melancholy settled upon her palaces and public places, broken only by the petty attempts at civic displays, which were like the actings of the circus ring compared with the serious manoeuvres of a military campaign. The old monuments were neglected or torn down. A papal legate sold the stones of the Colosseum to be burnt in lime-kilns, and her marbles were transported to other cities, so that it was said she was drawn upon more than Carrara. Her churches became roofless. Cattle ate grass up to the very altars of the Lateran and St. Peter’s. The movement of art was stopped which had begun with the arrival of Giotto, who had come to Rome at the call of Boniface VIII. to adorn St. Peter’s. No product of architecture is handed down from this period except the marble stairway of the church of St. Maria, Ara Coeli, erected in 1348 with an inscription commemorating the deliverance from the plague, and the restored Lateran church which was burnt, 1308. Ponds and débris interrupted the passage of the streets and filled the air with offensive and deadly odors. At Clement V.’s death, Napoleon Orsini assured Philip that the Eternal City was on the verge of destruction and, in 1347, Cola di Rienzo thought it more fit to be called a den of robbers than the residence of civilized men. The Italian peninsula, at least in its northern half, was a scene of political division and social anarchy. The country districts were infested with bands of brigands. The cities were given to frequent and violent changes of government. High officials of the Church paid the price of immunity from plunder and violence by exactions levied on other personages of station. Such were some of the immediate results of the exile of the papacy. Italy was in danger of succumbing to the fate of Hellas and being turned into a desolate waste. Avignon, which Clement chose as his residence, is 460 miles southeast of Paris and lies south of Lyons. Its proximity to the port of Marseilles made it accessible to Italy. It was purchased by Clement VI., 1348, from Naples for 80,000 gold florins, and remained papal territory until the French Revolution. As early as 1229, the popes held territory in the vicinity, the duchy of Venaissin, which fell to them from the domain of Raymond of Toulouse. On every side this free papal home was closely confined by French territory. Clement was urged by Italian bishops to go to Rome, and Italian writers gave as one reason for his refusal fear lest he should receive meet punishment for his readiness to condemn Boniface VIII. Clement’s coronation was celebrated at Lyons, Philip and his brother Charles of Valois, the Duke of Bretagne and representatives of the king of England being present. Philip and the duke walked at the side of the pope’s palfrey. By the fall of an old wall during the procession, the duke, a brother of the pope, and ten other persons lost their lives. The pope himself was thrown from his horse, his tiara rolled in the dust, and a large carbuncle, which adorned it, was lost. Scarcely ever was a papal ruler put in a more compromising position than the new pontiff. His subjection to a sovereign who had defied the papacy was a strange spectacle. He owed his tiara indirectly, if not immediately, to Philip the Fair. He was the man Philip wanted. It was his task to appease the king’s anger against the memory of Boniface, and to meet his brutal demands concerning the Knights Templars. These, with the Council of Vienne, which he called, were the chief historic concerns of his pontificate. The terms on which the new pope received the tiara were imposed by Philip himself, and, according to Villani, the price he made the Gascon pay included six promises. Five of them concerned the total undoing of what Boniface had done in his conflict with Philip. The sixth article, which was kept secret, was supposed to be the destruction of the order of the Templars. It is true that the authenticity of these six articles has been disputed, but there can be no doubt that from the very outset of Clement’s pontificate, the French king pressed their execution upon the pope’s attention. Clement, in poor position to resist, confirmed what Benedict had done and went farther. He absolved the king; recalled, Feb. 1, 1306, the offensive bulls Clericis laicos and Unam sanctam, so far as they implied anything offensive to France or any subjection on the part of the king to the papal chair, not customary before their issue, and fully restored the cardinals of the Colonna family to the dignities of their office. The proceedings touching the character of Boniface VIII. and his right to a place among the popes dragged along for fully six years. Philip had offered, among others, his brother, Count Louis of Evreux, as a witness for the charge that Boniface had died a heretic. There was a division of sentiment among the cardinals. The Colonna were as hostile to the memory of Boniface as they were zealous in their writings for the memory of Coelestine V. They pronounced it to be contrary to the divine ordinance for a pope to abdicate. His spiritual marriage with the Church cannot be dissolved. And as for there being two popes at the same time, God was himself not able to constitute such a monstrosity. On the other hand, writers like Augustinus Triumphus defended Boniface and pronounced him a martyr to the interests of the Church and worthy of canonization. In his zeal against his old enemy Philip had called, probably as early as 1305, for the canonization of Coelestine V. A second time, in 1307, Boniface’s condemnation was pressed upon Clement by the king in person. But the pope knew how to prolong the prosecution on all sorts of pretexts. Philip represented himself as concerned for the interests of religion, and Nogaret and the other conspirators insisted that the assault at Avignon was a religious act, negotium fidei. Nogaret sent forth no less than twelve apologies defending himself for his part in the assault. In 1310 the formal trial began. Many witnesses appeared to testify against Boniface, — laymen, priests and bishops. The accusations were that the pope had declared all three religions false, Mohammedanism, Judaism and Christianity, pronounced the virgin birth a tale, denied transubstantiation and the existence of hell and heaven and that he had played games of chance. Clement issued one bull after another protesting the innocency of the offending parties concerned in the violent measures against Boniface. Philip and Nogaret were declared innocent of all guilt and to have only pure motives in preferring charges against the dead pope. The bull, Rex gloriae, 1311, addressed to Philip, stated that the secular kingdom was founded by God and that France in the new dispensation occupied about the same place as Israel, the elect people, occupied under the old dispensation. Nogaret’s purpose in entering into the agreement which resulted in the affair at Anagni was to save the Church from destruction at the hands of Boniface, and the plundering of the papal palace and church was done against the wishes of the French chancellor. In several bulls Clement recalled all punishments, statements, suspensions and declarations made against Philip and his kingdom, or supposed to have been made. And to fully placate the king, he ordered all Boniface’s pronouncements of this character effaced from the books of the Roman Church. Thus in the most solemn papal form did Boniface’s successor undo all that Boniface had done. When the Ecumenical Council of Vienne met, the case of Boniface was so notorious a matter that it had to be taken up. After a formal trial, in which the accused pontiff was defended by three cardinals, he was adjudged not guilty. To gain this point, and to save his predecessor from formal condemnation, it is probable Clement had to surrender to Philip unqualifiedly in the matter of the Knights of the Temple. After long and wearisome proceedings, this order was formally legislated out of existence by Clement in 1312. Founded in 1119 to protect pilgrims and to defend the Holy Land against the Moslems, it had outlived its mission. Sapped of its energy by riches and indulgence, its once famous knights might well have disbanded and no interest been the worse for it. The story, however, of their forcible suppression awakens universal sympathy and forms one of the most thrilling and mysterious chapters of the age. Döllinger has called it “a unique drama in history.” The destruction of the Templar order was relentlessly insisted upon by Philip the Fair, and accomplished with the reluctant co-operation of Clement V. In vain did the king strive to hide the sordidness of his purpose under the thin mask of religious zeal. At Clement’s coronation, if not before, Philip brought charges against it. About the same time, in the insurrection called forth by his debasement of the coin, the king took refuge in the Templars’ building at Paris. In 1307 he renewed the charges before the pope. When Clement hesitated, he proceeded to violence, and on the night of Oct. 13, 1307, he had all the members of the order in France arrested and thrown into prison, including Jacques de Molay, the grand-master. Döllinger applies to this deed the strong language that, if he were asked to pick out from the whole history of the world the accursed day, — dies nefastus, — he would be able to name none other than Oct. 13, 1307. Three days later, Philip announced he had taken this action as the defender of the faith and called upon Christian princes to follow his example. Little as the business was to Clement’s taste, he was not man enough to set himself in opposition to the king, and he gradually became complaisant. The machinery of the Inquisition was called into use. The Dominicans, its chief agents, stood high in Philip’s favor, and one of their number was his confessor. In 1308 the authorities of the state assented to the king’s plans to bring the order to trial. The constitution of the court was provided for by Clement, the bishop of each diocese and two Franciscans and two Dominicans being associated together. A commission invested with general authority was to sit in Paris. In the summer of 1308 the pope ordered a prosecution of the knights wherever they might be found. The charges set forth were heresy, spitting upon the cross, worshipping an idol, Bafomet — the word for Mohammed in the Provençal dialect — and also the most abominable offences against moral decency such as sodomy and kissing the posterior parts and the navel of fellow knights. The members were also accused of having meetings with the devil who appeared in the form of a black cat and of having carnal intercourse with female demons. The charges which the lawyers and Inquisitors got together numbered 127 and these the pope sent through France and to other countries as the basis of the prosecution. Under the strain of prolonged torture, many of the unfortunate men gave assent to these charges, and more particularly to the denial of Christ and the spitting upon the cross. The Templars seem to have had no friends in high places bold enough to take their part. The king, the pope, the Dominican order, the University of Paris, the French episcopacy were against them. Many confessions once made by the victims were afterwards recalled at the stake. Many denied the charges altogether. In Paris 36 died under torture, 54 suffered there at one burning, May 10, 1310, and 8 days later 4 more. Hundreds of them perished in prison. Even the bitterest enemies acknowledged that the Templars who were put to death maintained their innocence to their dying breath. In accordance with Clement’s order, trials were had in Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and England. In England, Edward II. at first refused to apply the torture, which was never formally adopted in that land, but later, at Clement’s demand, he complied. Papal inquisitors appeared. Synods in London and York declared the charges of heresy so serious that it would be impossible for the knights to clear themselves. English houses were disbanded and the members distributed among the monasteries to do penance. In Italy and Germany, the accused were, for the most part, declared innocent. In Spain and Portugal, no evidence was forthcoming of guilt and the synod of Tarragona, 1310, and other synods favored their innocence. The last act in these hostile proceedings was opened at the Council of Vienne, called for the special purpose of taking action upon the order. The large majority of the council were in favor of giving it a new trial and a fair chance to prove its innocence. But the king was relentless. He reminded Clement that the guilt of the knights had been sufficiently proven, and insisted that the order be abolished. He appeared in person at the council, attended by a great retinue. Clement was overawed, and by virtue of his apostolic power issued his decree abolishing the Templars, March 22, 1312. Clement’s reasons were that suspicions existed that the order held to heresies, that many of the Templars had confessed to heresies and other offences, that thereafter reputable persons would not enter the order, and that it was no longer necessary for the defence of the Holy Land. Directions were given for the further procedure. The guilty were to be put to death; the innocent to be supported out of the revenues of the order. With this action the famous order passed out of existence. The end of Jacques de Molay, the 22d and last grand-master of the order of Templars, was worthy of its proudest days. At the first trial he confessed to the charges of denying Christ and spitting upon the cross, and was condemned, but afterwards recalled his confession. His case was reopened in 1314. With Geoffrey de Charney, grand-preceptor of Normandy, and others, he was led in front of Notre Dame Cathedral, and sentenced to perpetual imprisonment. Molay then stood forth and declared that the charges against the order were false, and that he had confessed to them under the strain of torture and instructions from the king. Charney said the same. The commission promised to reconsider the case the next day. But the king’s vengeance knew no bounds, and that night, March 11, 1314, the prisoners were burned. The story ran that while the flames were doing their grewsome work, Molay summoned pope and king to meet him at the judgment bar within a year. The former died, in a little more than a month, of a loathsome disease, though penitent, as it was reported, for his treatment of the order, and the king, by accident, while engaged in the chase, six months later. The king was only 46 years old at the time of his death, and 14 years after, the last of his direct descendants was in his grave and the throne passed to the house of Valois. As for the possessions of the order, papal decrees turned them over to the Knights of St. John, but Philip again intervened and laid claim to 260,000 pounds as a reimbursement for alleged losses to the Temple and the expense of guarding the prisoners. In Spain, they passed to the orders of San Iago di Compostella and Calatrava. In Aragon, they were in part applied to a new order, Santa Maria de Montesia, and in Portugal to the Military Order of Jesus Christ, ordo militiae Jesu Christi. Repeated demands made by the pope secured the transmission of a large part of their possessions to the Knights of St. John. In England, in 1323, parliament granted their lands to the Hospitallers, but the king appropriated a considerable share to himself. The Temple in London fell to the Earl of Pembroke, 1313. The explanation of Philip’s violent animosity and persistent persecution is his cupidity. He coveted the wealth of the Templars. Philip was quite equal to a crime of this sort. He robbed the bankers of Lombardy and the Jews of France, and debased the coin of his realm. A loan of 500,000 pounds which he had secured for a sister’s dowry had involved him in great financial straits. He appropriated all the possessions of the Templars he could lay his hands upon. Clement V.’s subserviency it is easy to explain. He was a creature of the king. When the pope hesitated to proceed against the unfortunate order, the king beset him with the case of Boniface VIII. To save the memory of his predecessor, the pope surrendered the lives of the knights. Dante, in representing the Templars as victims of the king’s avarice, compares Philip to Pontius Pilate. “I see the modern Pilate, whom avails No cruelty to sate and who, unbidden, Into the Temple sets his greedy sails.” Purgatory, xx. 91. The house of the Templars in Paris was turned into a royal residence, from which Louis XVI., more than four centuries later, went forth to the scaffold. The Council of Vienne, the fifteenth in the list of the ecumenical councils, met Oct. 16, 1311, and after holding three sessions adjourned six months later, May 6, 1812. Clement opened it with an address on Psa_111:1, Psa_111:2, and designated three subjects for its consideration, the case of the order of the Templars, the relief of the Holy Land and Church reform. The documents bearing on the council are defective. In addition to the decisions concerning the Templars and Boniface VIII., it condemned the Beguines and Beghards and listened to charges made against the Franciscan, Peter John Olivi (d. 1298). Olivi belonged to the Spiritual wing of the order. His books had been ordered burnt, 1274, by one Franciscan general, and a second general of the order, Bonagratia, 1279, had appointed a commission which found thirty-four dangerous articles in his writings. The council, without pronouncing against Olivi, condemned three articles ascribed to him bearing on the relation of the two parties in the Franciscan order, the Spirituals and Conventuals. The council has a place in the history of biblical scholarship and university education by its act ordering two chairs each, of Hebrew, Arabic, and Chaldee established in Paris, Oxford, Bologna, and Salamanca. While the proceedings against Boniface and the Templars were dragging on in their slow course in France, Clement was trying to make good his authority in Italy. Against Venice he hurled the most violent anathemas and interdicts for venturing to lay hands on Ferrara, whose territory was claimed by the Apostolic See. A crusade was preached against the sacrilegious city. She was defeated in battle, and Ferrara was committed to the administration of Robert, king of Naples, as the pope’s vicar. All that he could well do, Clement did to strengthen the hold of France on the papacy. The first year of his pontificate he appointed 9 French cardinals, and of the 24 persons whom he honored with the purple, 23 were Frenchmen. He granted to the insatiable Philip a Church tithe for five years. Next to the fulfilment of his obligations to this monarch, Clement made it his chief business to levy tributes upon ecclesiastics of all grades and upon vacant Church livings. He was prodigal with offices to his relatives. This was a leading feature of his pontificate. Five of his kin were made cardinals, three being still in their youth. His brother he made rector of Rome, and other members of his family received Ancona, Ferrara, the duchy of Spoleto, and the duchy of Venaissin, and other territories within the pope’s gift. The administration and disposition of his treasure occupied a large part of Clement’s time and have offered an interesting subject to the pen of the modern Jesuit scholar, Ehrle. The papal treasure left by Clement’s predecessor, after being removed from Perugia to France, was taken from place to place and castle to castle, packed in coffers laden on the backs of mules. After Clement’s death, the vast sums he had received and accumulated suddenly disappeared. Clement’s successor, John XXII., instituted a suit against Clement’s most trusted relatives to account for the moneys. The suit lasted from 1318-1322, and brought to light a great amount of information concerning Clement’s finances. His fortune Clement disposed of by will, 1312, the total amount being 814,000 florins; 300,000 were given to his nephew, the viscount of Lomagne and Auvillars, a man otherwise known for his numerous illegitimate offspring. This sum was to be used for a crusade; 314,000 were bequeathed to other relatives and to servants. The remaining 200,000 were given to churches, convents, and the poor. A loan of 160,000 made to the king of France was never paid back. Clement’s body was by his appointment buried at Uzeste. His treasure was plundered. At the trial instituted by John XXII., it appeared that Clement before his death had set apart 70,000 florins to be divided in equal shares between his successor and the college of cardinals. The viscount of Lomagne was put into confinement by John, and turned over 300,000 florins, one-half going to the cardinals and one-half to the pope. A few months after Clement’s death, the count made loans to the king of France of 110,000 florins and to the king of England of 60,000. Clement’s relatives showed their appreciation of his liberality by erecting to his memory an elaborate sarcophagus at Uzeste, which cost 50,000 gold florins. The theory is that the pope administers moneys coming to him by virtue of his papal office for the interest of the Church at large. Clement spoke of the treasure in his coffers as his own, which he might dispose of as he chose. Clement’s private life was open to the grave suspicion of unlawful intimacy with the beautiful Countess Brunissenda of Foix. Of all the popes of the fourteenth century, he showed the least independence. An apologist of Boniface VIII., writing in 1308, recorded this judgment: “The Lord permitted Clement to be elected, who was more concerned about temporal things and in enriching his relatives than was Boniface, in order that by contrast Boniface might seem worthy of praise where he would otherwise have been condemned, just as the bitter is not known except by the sweet, or cold except by heat, or the good except by evil.” Villani, who assailed both popes, characterized Clement “as licentious, greedy of money, a simoniac, who sold in his court every benefice for gold.” By a single service did this pope seem to place the Church in debt to his pontificate. The book of decretals, known as the Clementines, and issued in part by him, was completed by his successor, John XXII.