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Boniface VIII and Philip IV: Conflict Between Church and State

Pope Boniface VIIIBoniface VIII and Philip IV: Conflict Between Church and State

Mark Lowry

Western Oregon University: Senior Seminar Thesis, June 6 (2008) 

Abstract

During the middle ages there were conflicts between church and state. From 1294-1303 Boniface VIII and Philip the IV, king of France had such an issue. The issue between the two men was of external and internal authority beginning in 1296 when Boniface asked all secular rulers to ask his permission first before taxing clergy in their lands. Neither Philip nor Boniface wanted to be controlled by the other, and they both wanted to have control over their realm, which is where the problem existed. Philipís realm is France, but the realm of Boniface consists of churches around the world and clergy, and all Christians, all of which happen to be in France as well as other parts of the world. It is for this reason that Boniface VIII has been criticized for an attempt to gain power and influence over secular rulers at the end of the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth century; During Boniface VIII papacy, 1294-1303, he used the conflict with Philip, King of France, to expand the power of the Church, and protect the Church from secular rulersí influence.

Both, Philip King of France, and Boniface VIII felt that the other was attempting to gain control over their territory. Most of the primary sources are papal bulls that show Boniface was expanding on the power of the church and by doing so protecting the church. A papal bull is a papal proclamation, or a declaration from the pope to all of Christendom, secular ruler and commoner alike, which is to inform them all of a new church law. There is a difference of opinion concerning what Boniface VIII was truly doing by sending the bulls to Philip.

Click here to read this article from Western Oregon University



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