Appendix II:  (Volume II)
Partial Explanation for Why the Popes once had the Power to Depose Monarchs and Institute New Dynasties

          During the Middle Ages, a time of great intellectual ignorance and moral depravity, the Papal power contributed much to the preservation of the idea of international law and that nations have duties and responsibilities as well as rights.  Other than the obvious religious influence that the Church held, the power of the Church, and the Popes in particular, had its origin in the fact that the Popes were pressured into solving problems and giving special favors by the various Christian European monarchs.  These monarchs carefully sought Papal approval to bolster their own legitimacy and influence.  This is a significant reason why the Popes came to have the legal power to depose and institute royal dynasties in the Dark and Middle Ages:

          It may be proper to give instances of the eagerness with which princes sought from the Popes for the recognition of their royal titles, or to be promoted to the royal dignity, and of the submission which they professed to the pontifical authority.[1]

          Note the following examples:

          John VIII reminds Michael, King of the Bulgarians, that, on embracing Christianity, he submitted to the government of Peter the apostle, and of his successors, and promised obedience.  St. Stephen, King of Hungary, acknowledged to have received his crown and title from Sylvester II.  Alphonsus, Duke of Portugal, received the royal title from Alexander III, in reward of his exploits against the Arabs.  Premislaus was recognised as King of Bohemia by Innocent III., at the solicitation of the Emperor Otho.  Calo-Joannes obtained from the same Pontiff the crown and title of King of the Bulgarians.  Peter of Aragon was not content with the title which his predecessors had borne, but asked of Innocent to be solemnly crowned, that a religious sanction might be given to his authority.  Stephen, on succeeding to the crown of England, swore to preserve the liberty of the Church, and avowed that he had been chosen king with the assent of the clergy and the people, and had been confirmed in the kingdom by Innocent, Pontiff of the Holy Roman See.  Theobald, King of Navarre, asked of Alexander IV the privilege of being anointed king with the solemn rite prescribed by the Church; which being granted, he afterward sought permission for his successors to use the royal title, when in accordance with the national usage they should be chosen to occupy the throne, being raised on a shield, or on the shoulders of men, before the unction was performed.[2]

          The King of Servia, on abandoning schism, sent an embassy to Honorius III to obtain the pontifical recognition of his royal title.  This act was intended to secure to the prince his proper place in the great Christian confederacy.  Addressing the Pontiff, he says: "As all Christians love and honor you, and regard you as their father and lord, so we desire to be styled a child of the holy Roman Church, and your child; being anxious that the blessing and confirmation of God, and yours, should always be manifest on our crown and land."  J Daniel, Duke of Russia, in 1246, obtained the royal crown and title from the legate of Innocent IV.[3]

          The reason for these appeals is spelled out below:

          The princes were not insensible of their titles to royal power, as derived from descent, conquest, or popular will; but they felt the advantage of the Pontiff's sanction and recognition, in reference to other sovereigns and to their own people; and they sought for a divine blessing through his ministry.  Thus Branimer, a Sclavoniau prince, having professed fidelity and obedience to blessed Peter, John VIII, on the feast of our Lord's Ascension, pronounced a solemn blessing on him and on his people, at the altar of St. Peter.

          Many princes, from a feeling of devotion to the Holy See, freely offered themselves as vassals of St. Peter, which, according to the notions then prevalent, implied no degradation, but rather independence of the imperial power, with a nominal subjection to the Pontiff.  The Normans manifested a desire to return to the obedience of the Holy See, as a means of securing their independence of the empire.  St. Gregory VII wrote to Wifred of Milan: "Be it known to you, then, that the Normans are making to us overtures of peace, which they would most willingly have concluded ere this, and have given full satisfaction to Blessed Peter, whom alone, after the Lord, they desire to have for their lord-and emperor, had we assented to their petition in certain particulars."  "We suppose that you well know," says he to Grusa, Duke of Hungary, "that the kingdom of Hungary, as also other most noble kingdoms, should enjoy independence, and be subject to the king of no other realm, but only to the holy and universal Church of Rome, our mother, who does not treat her subjects as slaves, but embraces all as children."  The apostolic King of Hungary gloried in this vassalage: the King of Portugal made his dominions tributary: the King of Aragon swore fealty: the King of Dalmatia paid tribute to the Pope as liege lord: and Stephen, and Henry II, of England, before the humiliation of John, acknowledged that England was a fief of the Holy See.[4]

          Again, an explanation:

          It is not just to form to ourselves a false idea of this dependence, and thence to take occasion to despise the princes who acknowledged it, and to censure the Popes who enforced it.  It consisted chiefly in the payment of a small annual pension toward the general fund, for the most important wants of the Church, and in the manifestation of greater zeal for the defense of the Holy See, when assailed by powerful enemies.  It disposed the prince to listen with docility to the admonitions of the Pontiff, in behalf of religion and of the people, and it procured for him pontifical influence and protection, when the royal authority was assailed by rebels, or by rival princes.  When Waldemar, King of Denmark, a vassal of the Holy See, was thrown into prison by Henry, Count of Zeverin, Honorius III, at the instance of the prelates and nobles, interposed his authority to rescue the king, and urged the emperor, Frederick, to come to his relief, beseeching him, however, to spare the life of the rebel count.  John, of England, got the support of Innocent against the revolted barons: whose just claims the Pontiff, nevertheless, promised to sustain, if they would consent to lay down their arms.  In Sicily, and other original possessions of the Holy See, greater authority was claimed by the Pope, as liege lord; but in kingdoms voluntarily made feudatory, the dependence was almost nominal.  Even Hallam avows the favorable influence of this subjection: "Peter, King of Aragon, received at Rome the belt of knighthood, and the royal crown, from the hands of Innocent III.; he took an oath of perpetual fealty and obedience to him and his successors; he surrendered his kingdom, and accepted it again to be held by an annual tribute, in return for the protection of the Apostolic See."[5]

          In conclusion:

          This strange conversion of kingdoms into spiritual fiefs was intended as the price of security from ambitious neighbors, and may be deemed analogous to the change of allodial into feudal, or more strictly to that of lay into ecclesiastical tenure, which was frequent during the turbulence of the darker ages.[6]

          That is, the Popes did not initially seek the power to depose and set up kings and sovereign princes; rather they were pushed into this role.  However, one Pope had different ideas.  He was the first to depose monarchs:[7]

          Gregory [VII] held all sovereigns to be his vassals, and sought to render them his tributaries.  He announced his claims to the French monarch and the princes of Spain, and obliged or induced weaker princes to, submit to his pretensions.

His successors followed in his steps, and supported his maxims and pretensions; and the consequence was, that a great many sovereign princes, dreading the thunder of the church, or standing in need of the protection of the holy see, submitted by degrees to the new power of the Pope. The kings of the two Sicilies, of Portugal, of Aragon, of England, of Scotland, and of Sardinia, and a great many others, became the vassals and, tributaries of the holy see; and we can scarcely doubt that an universal monarchy, the plan of which had been conceived by this Pontiff, would have been fully established, if certain of his successors had possessed his genius and his extensive views.  The character of the age, and the circumstances of the times, favoured the project.[8]

In other words, if the Popes after Gregory VII had pursued it, the Popes would probably have been kings of all Europe and beyond.  However:

          The Pope[s eventually] lost [their] character of International Judge, and retained but for a season, and with difficulty, the character of International Arbitrator.  That, too, had disappeared before the epoch of the Reformation. . . .[9]

          Nevertheless, the Popes are still sovereign rulers of a tiny, but very real, monarchy today, akin to when they ruled the Papal States in what is now Italy:

          . . . The Pope himself, as temporal sovereign of Rome [Vatican City], is not a spiritual person [in this secular office], for he holds not that sovereignty by virtue of his spirituality.  He holds it simply as a secular right acquired by the Holy See, and therefore held subject to all the conditions of temporal sovereignty in general.[10]

[1]  Francis Patrick Kenrick, The Primacy of the Apostolic See Vindicated, 1855, p. 278.

[2] Ibid.

[3]  Ibid.

[4]  Ibid., p. 279.

[5] Ibid., pp. 279-280.

[6] Ibid., p. 280.

[7]  The English Cyclopaedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge, vol. 3, “Gregory VII,” p. 1856, 189.

[8]  M. Koch, "Article 10, View of the Revolutions in Europe," The Monthly Review or Literary Journal, vol. 56, 1808, p. 519.

[9]  Sir Robert Phillimore, Commentaries upon International Law, vol. 1, 2nd ed., 1871, p. xlviii.

[10]  "Rights of Temporal: School Days at Rugby," Brownson's Quarterly Review, vol. 1, Orestes Augustus Brownson, ed., October 1860, p. 475.

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