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hour the smiling prosperity of half a nation. Catholic Christianity stood in vietory and pride on the grave of a perished people. History has few tales more pitiful. A crusading host, led by the merciless Simon de Montfort, laid waste whole towns and cities, drowning their ashes in the blood of almost the entire population. An army of fanatic monks was sent forth to do God service, by hunting out and exterminating the last relics of the dreaded heresy. The torch, fagot, rack, dungeon, the devilish enginery and ubiquitous police of the Inquisition, were brought in play. This was the second great step of papal supremacy. At such a price the Church bought one more century of unchallenged dominion. Such was the task which, with stern conviction and unflinching determination, Innocent had carried out. But a cry went up to heaven from that smoking and blood-stained soil, a wail that pierced (it was said) the ear even of the stern pontiff on his throne. He tried in vain to make some late recompense to those whom his agents had stripped to beggary, and died with the horrible doubt upon his spirit, whether he, the shepherd and guardian of Christendom, had not shed innocent blood for naught, and put on the Church the brand of a crime that long ages could not expiate.* The shadow of that guilt still haunts the gloomy halls and cells of the papal palace at Avignon, and broods upon the soil of Languedoc; and the memories of that ancient cruelty added deeper wrath to the passions of revolutionary France, and still give its sound of dread to the name of Inquisition.
A curious sequel to the half-fanatic, half-worldly policy of Innocent is found in the career of his ward and pupil, Frederick II.; the man of genius and culture; the freethinker, far in advance of his own time; the wise legislator, giving equal justice to Jew and Saracen as to Christian; the stern persecutor, punishing heretics as disloyal to their spiritual chief; the crusading champion of the Church, and king of Jerusalem, yet accused of turning Saracen, and finally declared deposed
Michelet, who gives from the Chronicles of Languedoc the evidence of Innocent's contrition, finds reason afterwards to withdraw his belief in it; and it is probable that the dreadful cruelties of the Albigensian crusade were inflicted with unrelenting good faith, and were unvisited by remorse.
by the Pope, with whom he maintains almost a life-long war, admonished, excommunicated, and by Dante placed, along with Farinata, in the valley of tombs, the fiery doom of heretics. He had been brought up, says Mr. Milman, "among Churchmen who conspired against or openly defied the head of the Church; taught from his earliest years by every party to mistrust the other; taught by the Sicilians to hate the Germans, by the Germans to despise the Sicilians; taught that in the Pope himself, his guardian, there was no faith or loyalty." The historian has evidently been a good deal attracted by this singular, wayward, and fascinating career, that seems two or three centuries out of place in history. It is given at full length, with very interesting detail; and a comparison is suggested between this and the pathetic and noble fidelity of Saint Louis of France, whose death in 1270, twenty years after Frederick's, is the closing scene of the Crusades.
The full noon of the "ages of faith" was already past.. Now follows the dark story of infidelity and strife, chronicled in stern, brief lines by Dante's iron pen. The great poet of the Middle Age sees in the calamities of Italy in his day, not the fruit of a system wrong in its foundation, or even imperfectly divine, but only the evidence of personal guilt in the enemies of God, among whom he does not scruple to reckon the head of the Church himself. Dante's mezzo di cammin di nostra vita, wherein he finds himself in the forest of desolation and despair, is set by his biographers as the very year 1300, which witnessed the topmost height of the pride of papal Rome. It was the jubilee of the Church, the high festival that marked the close of another century. Boniface VIII. had summoned all Christendom to take part in the august ceremonial. Perpetual indulgence was promised to whoever should join in the pomp of sacrifice at Rome. "Pilgrims were reckoned by the hundred thousand, and presently could be no longer numbered. Neither houses nor churches could contain them; they camped in streets and squares, under sheds built hastily, under sheets, under tents, and under the vault of heaven"; while two priests stood with rakes in their hands, sweeping the uncounted gold and silver from the altars. And in the magnificent procession that attended the Sovereign Pon
tiff to the altar, two swords were borne before him,* emblems of the temporal and spiritual power wielded in his single hand, as sovereign over all earthly potentates.
That this might be no vain symbol, it was followed the next year by the famous bull Ausculta fili, addressed to the king of France; † and again, the year following, by the more famous one, Unam Sanctam, in which he asserts: "There is one holy Church, catholic and apostolic, -one body, one head; in its power two swords, temporal and spiritual, one to be wielded by the Church, the other for the Church, by the hand of kings and soldiers, but at the beck and sufferance of the priest; and the temporal to be subject to the spiritual. As it is written, This day I have set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, and to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant. Whoever resists this power resists the ordinance of God. Therefore, we proclaim, declare, assert, and announce to every human creature, that he be subject to the Roman Pontiff, as wholly necessary to his salvation."
These words were the legitimate and logical deduction from the theory of papal power, brought first into clear relief by Hildebrand, and shaping the policy of every bold and able successor of his throne. They were also a direct challenge to a power as proud and obstinate as that of Boniface himself. Philip the Fair, of France, who peeled nobility and clergy, crushed his people to misery, debased the coin, plundered the
* For which the authority was found in Luke xxii. 38: "And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough."
† Condensed into the pithy epistle, whose genuineness Gieseler defends and Milman doubts: "Boniface the Pope to the King of France. Fear God, and keep his commandments. We would have thee know that in spirituals and temporals thou art subject to us. The conferring of benefices and prebends no way belongs to thee: if thou hast the keeping of any vacancies, save their fruits for the successors: if thou hast conferred any, we decree the bestowal void, and recall those that have gone into effect. Those who hold otherwise we reckon heretics." The king's answer, of undoubted genuineness, runs thus: "Philip, by the grace of God King of France, to Boniface who assumes to be Chief Pontiff, greeting little or none. Let your folly know that in temporals we are subordinate to none. The presenting to vacant benefices and prebends belongs to us by royal right; the fruits are ours. maintain all bestowals made and to be made by us, and their possessors. All who
believe otherwise we reckon fools and madmen."
Jews, and carried through the hideous "Process of the Templars," to replenish his funds and secure his widening frontier, was not a man to refuse the quarrel. For years the war of words had been going on, and it must soon come to a trial of force. The king had the lawyers on his side, a new power, which he had almost called into existence, to confront his priestly adversary. The States General of France were summoned for the emergency; and the clergy themselves joined in protesting against the enormous assumption of the Pope. Boniface was unyielding. He passed the sentence of excommunication upon the king, and had already drawn up the edict which should declare him deposed from the royal power.
But it was one day too late. William of Nogaret was Philip's envoy, the chief of his three great legist-ministers, a man cold, stern, resolute, descended from the heretic race whose blood had stained the soil of France a hundred years before. That blood now cried from the ground in vengeance upon the tyranny of Rome. The scene of conflict was shifted from France to Italy. The personal enemies of Boniface, with Sciarra Colonna at their head, lent themselves as zealous allies to the force which Philip sent to drag him from the papal throne. His palace at Anagni was attacked, the church pillaged, his friends forced to surrender or driven off in flight. Forsaken and alone, "he determined to fall with dignity. He put on the stole of St. Peter, the imperial crown was on his head, the keys of St. Peter in one hand and the cross in the other; he took his seat on the papal throne, and, like the Roman senators of old, awaited the approach of the Gauls." Violent words passed between him and Nogaret, whom he did not spare to insult as "a Paterin and son of Paterins; and Colonna, it is said, struck him twice in the face with his mailed hand. For three days he was kept famishing in prison, in terror of his life; and when rescued at length, and followed by the compassionate benedictions of the people, the proud-hearted old man, now upwards of eighty years, was utterly broken down, and in a few months died. insane, refusing with his last breath the holy offices of the Church. So, said his enemies, was fulfilled the prediction of Celestine, whom Boniface had supplanted: "Thou hast come
in like a fox; thou shalt reign like a lion; thou shalt go out like a dog."
The Papacy never quite recovered from the blow struck upon the cheek of its proudest sovereign. King, nobles, and commons, the old imperial law of Rome and the new common law of the realm, nay, the national pride and loyalty of a large part of the clergy, were leagued to brave its power, and had conquered. The arm of the law was stronger than the word of the priest. The Church must be henceforth subordinate to the State. The year after Boniface's death, 1305, the new Pope removed to Avignon on the Rhone. There, in a "Captivity" of seventy years, likened to the exile of the Jews in Babylon, he and his successors were vassals of the king of France; and here that vast and sombre palace, which seems rather a prison or castle than a palace, still remains the witness of the insolent pomp and corruption of that degenerate age of Popedom. Ubi papa ibi Roma, came to be an accepted maxim of the spiritual power, which thus, with obstinate vitality, survived its separation from the seat on which all its pretentions were built.
Restored to the Vatican, it encountered a new peril, even more threatening, the schism of fifty years, when two rival Popes Italy, Germany, and England supporting one against Scotland, France, and Spain-divided the Catholic empire, and degraded the dignity they fought for, by denouncing and excommunicating one another. Law must decide what authority could not. The Universities first were called in as arbiters in the strife; then gradually won authority above either party. Among other expedients, it was once proposed that there should be a different Pope for every country. Councils tried their ineffectual hand to fill the breach; and bridged it over, at length, by cutting off both lines of succession, and inaugurating a third. So, dependent on a new order of choice, the despotic hierarchy became more and more
* "Vulpes intravit, tanquam leo pontificavit,
Philip afterwards offered to prove forty-three distinct heresies against the memory of Boniface; and the papal court was forced to listen to charges of the vilest immorality and the most wanton blasphemy, got up by his unforgiving persecutors.