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By H. W. C. Davis
Text in [square brackets] was added especially for this online publication by Ellopos
VI - THE HILDEBRANDINE CHURCH
A society charged with these tremendous duties, the only organ of the Divine will and affording the only assurance of salvation, must obviously be superior to all mundane powers. It would be monstrous if her teaching were modified, if her powers of self-government were restricted, to suit the ambitions or the so-called common sense of a lay ruler. The Church stands to the State in the relation of the head to the members, of the soul to the body, of the sun to the moon. The State exists to provide the material foundations of the Christian society, to protect the Church, to extend her sphere and to constrain those who rebel against her law. In a sense the State is ordained by God, but only in the sense of being a necessary condition for the existence of a Christian Commonwealth. Logically the State should be the servant of the Church, acting with delegated powers under her direction.
But theories, however logical, must come to terms with facts, or vanish into the limbo of chimeras. The power of the Hildebrandine Church was subject to serious limitations. On certain questions of importance the national hierarchies were inclined to side with the State against the Pope; and thus, for example, the claims of the Curia to tax the clergy, and to override the rights of ecclesiastical patrons, were restricted at one time or another by concordats, or by secular legislation such as the English statutes of Provisors and Praemunire.
Cf. Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Ancient Rome * Ancient Greece * The Making of Europe
Davis' Medieval Europe in Print or for Amazon Kindle