September 24, 2013
Chapter 9: Textbook Writing Assignment
In the High Middle Ages of Europe, a particular argument over the appointment of churchmen turned into a general struggle for leadership in Christian society. During this time, Henry IV was emperor of Germany and Gregory VII was the Pope. The controversy between these men brought about many issues. In 1706, these issues are brought up in a long letter written by Henry IV. He addresses this letter to the Pope (Noble 250).
Henry IV begins this letter to the Pope by immediately denouncing him and calling him a “false monk” (250). Henry goes into detail on how the Pope has not brought honor but disgrace to the church. He points out the mistreatment of the Pope when he says, “you have dared to assail the holy rulers of the church, archbishops, bishops, and priests, and you have trodden them underfoot like slaves ignorant of what their master is doing” (250). The Pope would put down people of the church because he thought he was the only one who knew all things. Henry goes on saying how Gregory has been attacking the royal power and acts as though the entire empire were in his hands, not the hands of God. The king ends the letter with talking about the “true pope Peter”. He tells how Peter used to say, “Fear God, honor the King”. Henry tells the Pope that he is not a man who fears God and that he dishonors him (250).
Two years later, in 1078, Gregory VII responds to Henry’s letter with a short decree. Gregory proceeds to explain the investiture of the church when he says that it is, “in many places, performed by lay persons, and that from this cause many disturbances arise in the church by which the Christian religion is degraded, we decree that no one of the clergy shall receive the investiture of a bishopric, abbey, or church from the hand of an emperor, or king, or of any lay person, male or female” (250). The pope is here challenging Henry back over control of appointments...
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