R&I – FS
The Medieval Land Grabbing Papacy!
Looking back through history, we perceive the clergy (priests, monks.) of England to be pious men filled with devotion to their God, community and King. Monastics of the 11th, 12th and 13th-century England (and elsewhere) give us the impression from Englisce charters and artwork that the clergy held all things, Christian. To its supposed moral code as well as being scholarly professionals. Professional clerical forgers were the cause of how England became a thiefdom of Rome in the times stated.
“Angels are a light for monks, monks are a light for laymen”
—St. John Klimakos
That monastic life of the Medieval Church was seen as infallible, and its foot soldiers of friars and priests as being pious was a charade and misconception brought on by the Church’s strict regime to its adherents, which was of indoctrination through a regiment of severe discipline and fear. Not just in England, but every land in the West following the doctrine of Rome. Making sure the people were kept reliant on its institution for their salvation and spiritual wellbeing. The Reformation was centuries off in the future, so the devotees followed Rome unless they were Jews or Mohammedans.
However, that conception we now believe of the medieval church/priesthood would be very wrong indeed, and far from the truth. The majority of Monks/Priests of the time were illiterate. Most monasteries and abbeys had non-ordained monks/clerics, who did the manual work of keeping their religious institutions functioning. It was also common in some monastic communities where the Abbot was also not ordained.
To be a scribe, one had to have the ability to use their hands creatively and being literate was not a prerequisite, but copying was. So if you could forge names or letters, your Church needed your service and offered free board and lodging for life. Copying manuscript in large, dank scriptoriums was a tedious job at the best of times, even for literate scribes.
Of the 5,600 + Greek biblical manuscripts (MSS) that are extant, there are no two the same.
In a book on Historical Documents of the Middle Ages in one section, we see that King Henry II (1154-89) aka Henry Beauclerc had his hands tied when it came to the Church and the laws of the land (England). Where the medieval Church from the reign of Henry I, had refused to acknowledge the laws of the land. Which would later make Henry II seem to be the villain? With Thomas Becket, the victim, who did not accept temporal law only church law. With the Englisce Church at the time being a law to themselves. A Princely cleric, brother of a king who usurped the laws of England for his master in Rome. Moreover, I do mean the clerics as being a lawlessness bunch of evildoers! As I’ll endeavour to show in the coming paragraph.
Book I No. III
Is the list of articles laid before Thomas Becket in 1164, for finally refusing to sign which that prelate went into his long exile. The Custom of Appealing to Rome—a custom which had begun under Henry I (1100-1135), whose brother was papal legate for England—had assumed alarming dimensions under Henry II. The King had almost no jurisdiction over his clerical subjects. And, to make matters worse, the clergy did not refrain from crimes which called for the utmost severity of the law. In ten years we hear of more than one hundred unpunished cases of murder among them. It was to put a stop to such lawlessness that Henry caused the constitutions of Clarendon to be drawn up by two of his justiciars. They contained nothing new, no right that did not belong by precedent to the crown. It was the way in which the struggle with Becket was carried on, not the weakness of the king’s standpoint that caused the latter to fail in his endeavours. Public sympathy turned against him and, in 1174, he was obliged to expressly permit appeals to Rome. Papal influence was to increase in England until it reached its zenith under Innocent III (1198-1216).—liege lord and collector of tribute.[Ernest F. Henderson ed. and trans. (1903, Selection of Historical Documents of the Middle Ages, pp. 2-3, G. Bell and Sons, Ltd., London] ( ) brackets. are mine.
(Even today we hear of Roman clergy being immune from civil prosecution as Rome denies any secular power, and claims in some cases diplomatic immunity for any clerical wrongdoing!)
Probably if the argument were today in the 21st-century, King Henry II would have been seen as the victim and being lawful to seek the powers of law for his realm and Thomas Becket, the villain in the matter.
See also the constitutions of Clarendon.https://avalon.law.yale.edu/medieval/constcla.asp
In 1214 The Donation of Constantine was also used by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216 to usurp the Kingdoms of England and Ireland from King John (1199-1216), to the moral control and spiritual authority of Rome. In 1215 King John signed the Magna Carta in the meadows of Runnymede and Pope Innocent having heard about it later in 1215 declared the document to be illegal and invalid. We should not forget that the Donation of Constantine was a forgery about a Roman Imperial Document!
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