Kait asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 6 years ago

conflict between church and state in the medieval period?

Describe the conflict between church and state in the medieval period.What is the

conflict over? Include at least 3 examples of this conflict and explain how they exemplify the


Any information is helpful, Its one of the essay questions on my study guide and I'd just like some information because I didn't have enough money to buy the book, Thanks so much in advance

3 Answers

  • 6 years ago
    Best Answer

    Most important is the "Investiture Controversy" (or "Struggle"). Who had the authority to appoint bishops, a region's king or the Papacy? This dispute raged from the 1070s until the 1120s. Since bishops gained control over church-owned fiefs and the wealth they generated, the Papcy wanted to control their investiture to make sure these resources stayed in church hands and could be used to maintain the power and autonomy of the Papacy and its international church structure. Kings wanted to control investiture so bishoprics could be used to reward supporters and noble clients. In most places, the church initially won control over investiture, though kings secured the right to propose candidates for archbishoprics to the Papacy and to participated in a feudal ceremony in which they became landowners of fiefs. The "Concordat of Worms" (1122) is the best example of this compromise that, on the whole, favored the church. However, in subsequent centuries temporal rulers increasingly pushed back and gained more and more influence over appointments to church offices in their kingdoms, especially by the 1500s and after.

    Another important conflict was over the primacy of temporal or ecclesiastical authority. Kings wanted to assert that they ruled with authority blessed by God and that their will superceded church authority in their realms. The Papacy in the 1070s and thereafter, trying to establish autonomy from temporal rulers, asserted that ecclesiastical authority was superior: popes could excommunicate kings, kings could not tax church lands, and royal laws and courts could not apply to church officials (who could only be tried in church courts). This most dramatically was played out in the 1070s, when Pope Gregory VII excommunicated German Emperor Henry IV, who was compelled to make peace in face of widespread rebellion by going to Gregory's papal court as Canossa dressed as a penitent sinner to beg forgiveness. A few years later, after Henry suppressed the rebellions, he captured and imprisoned Pope Gregory.

    Nonetheless, for the next couple of centuries the papacy managed in most parts of Western and Central Europe to use the threat of excommunication (or its broader cousin, the interdict) to compel kings to agree not to tax or seize church lands or to arrest or try church officials. This sometimes led to dramatic conflicts. In the 1160s, England's King Henry II feuded with his Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket (who had previously been one of the king's clients and had been nominated to the papacy by Henry). Once invested as the primate of England, Becket began jealously defending church autonomy and interests against Henry's assertions. At once point Henry drove Becket to flee England and hide out in France, from where he issued excommunications and polemical decrees against King Henry's supporters until Henry relented and agreed to make peace. But the feud quickly errupted again, and one night in rage Henry bemoaned that none of his supposedly loyal followers would rid him of the turbulent priest. Four knights took him at a word, marched into Canterbury Cathedral during prayers, and when Becket refused to deal with them they murdered him at the altar with their swords. King Henry II later agreed to do pennance (he was publically whipped by monks) in contrition for his accidental involvement in the murder.

  • 4 years ago

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    The essential point is that the Church wielded too much power and was corrupt. The way was paved for a simpler creed to be established that related more to the common man.

  • 6 years ago

    Don't worry too much about not having money to buy the book. You can get it for free at a library. Hope this helped.

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