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THE GLORY OF CHRISTENDOM

crowned king of Sicily. The new Pope had narrowed the area of conflict but had not eliminated it. His firm commitment to uphold what he regarded as necessary Papal authority over Sicily barred any compromise with Frederick's defiance. So the struggle for Sicily continued, with no end in sight.loz The accord Boniface VIII obtained by these negotiations with Charles II of Naples and James II of Aragon, which these two sovereigns loyally upheld throughout his pontificate, proved to be his one real success at peacemaking, even though Frederick continued to maintain himself in Sicily. Toward the three great powers in Christendom-the Holy Roman Empire, France, and England, France being the strongest-Boniface placed himself, from early in his pontificate, in an adversary position. This was by no means entirely his fault. Philip IV of France and Edward I of England were obtaining from the Church in their countries a substantial part of the financial support for their war against each other and over Scotland, a French ally which Edward sought to conquer. In September 1294, while St. Peter Celestine was Pope, Edward had demanded and collected from the Church in England an unprecedented one-half of all its revenues for that year, declaring that any cleric who resisted would be deprived of the King's protection. In France, beginning that year, the tenths of clerical revenue past Popes had demanded for crusades-both those aimed ultimately at recovering Jerusalem and the "political crusades" in Europe proclaimed by the Pope, such as the war to regain Sicily-were now levied by Philip IV for himself, without seeking Papal approval. Germany was divided between the supporters of Adolf of Nassau, who had been elected Emperor after Rudolf's death, and supporters of RudolPs son Albert of Habsburg; the Pope seemed hostile to both sides.lo3 Heavy, strictly enforced taxation of the Church without papal consent was an obvious and major threat to the Church's independence, and Edward's demand for half of all annual clerical revenues in England showed how great the threat could be." On February 24, 1296 Pope Boniface VIII took firm Mann, Popes in the Middle Ages, XIX, 75, 78-81, 85-87; Boase, Boniface VIII, pp. 165-167; Runciman, Sicilian
Vespers, p. 295.
lo3 Powicke, Thirteenth Century, p. 672; Strayer, Philip the Fair, pp. 250-251; Mary M. Curley, The Conflict between Pope Boniface VIII and King Philip IV the Fair (Washington, 1927), p. 86; Mann, Popes in the Middle Ages, XIX, 117, 272.

1°4 There is a tendency for historians of this period to concentrate almost exclusively' on the struggle between Philip N of France and Pope Boniface VIII over control of the French Church and its revenues, because France was the greatest power in Christendom and eventually "captured" the Papacy as a result of this conflict, but in fact Edward I was at this point equally defiant and equally threatening. Historians (e.g. Strayer, Philip the Fair, pp. 248-251) attempting to justify Philip N's policies toward the Church by arguing that the French Church willingly cooperated with him because his financial demands were no more than previous Popes had made (one-tenth of annual revenues), almost all overlook Edward I's staggering financial demand on the English Church in 1294.

THE NEMESIS OF POWER

333

action against this danger in one of his most famous bulls, Clericis laicos, which prohibited clerics from paying, and government officials from receiving any money taxed from Church possessions without the consent of the Pope.los But though this action was clearly justified and much needed, the Pope's language was not. This was to be a recurring problem throughout Boniface VIII's pontificate and a major cause of its ultimate disaster. With rare exceptions, harsh and angry language is not a luxury the Vicar of Christ can afford in dealing with leaders in Christendom who, however reprehensible their acts, hold millions of the faithful under their control-especially when it leads to indefensible exaggeration. In this bull the unduly harsh language appeared in the very first sentence: Antiquity teaches us, and the experiences of the present time make clear that the laity are hostile to the clergy; inasmuch as, not content within their own bounds, they aim at what is forbidden them.lob Let two of the greatest and most orthodox Church historians of all time, Karl-Joseph Hefele and Henri Leclercq, in their monumental History of the Councils, answer: Sad indeed would it be for the Church if this mortal enmity were a normal condition rather than an exception, but happily this supposition is contrary to historical truth. Even if we abstract the first centuries of the Christian Church, we may well say that the majority of the faithful have a real sympathy for the clergy. This general accusation of Boniface seems little in keeping with the dignity and prudence of the Holy See, and can only be explained as one of the caprices which reappear frequently in Boniface VIII who, it must be said, was lacking in moderation!o~ By assuming that he would have little or no lay support in restricting taxation of the Church, Pope Boniface VIII assured that he got little of it, though one sovereign, James II of Aragon, did eventually support Clericis laicos.l°8 The French Church pleaded with the Pope to modify his position, which he eventually did by granting Philip IV the right to tax the Church in France in whatever Philip might deem an emergency situation.'°9 But the English Church held firm for the Pope for more than a year, led by the heroic
105
1

Boase, Boniface VIII, pp. 136-138; Curley, Conflict between Boniface VIII and Phih TIV, pp. 73-76. Mann, Popes in the Middle Ages, XIX, 239.

107 Hefele-Leclercq, Histoire des Conciles, VI, 359, cited in Curley, Conflict between Pope Boniface VIII and Philip IV, p. 76. 1°g Mann, Popes in the Middle Ages, XIX, 242.

lbid, XIX, 246-247, 304-309; Strayer, Philip the Fair, pp. 253-254; Boase, Boniface VIII, pp. 147-148, 152; Curley, Conflict between Pope Boniface VIII and Philip n', pp. 82-83.
lo9

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