Skip to comments.When the pope was powerful, and why that changed
Posted on 02/11/2013 3:33:30 PM PST by Alex Murphy
Its difficult to pinpoint a precise moment when the office of the pope began to lose its vast political power, which had long placed the Holy See above even the kings and emperors of Europe, but has since declined to the point that now-retiring Pope Benedict XVI found few political accomplishments in his reign. But one day that stands out is Dec. 2, 1804.
A few weeks earlier, French voters had overwhelmingly approved a referendum elevating Napoleon Bonaparte from first consul to emperor, the beginning of the end of Frances democratic revolution. His coronation was to proceed in the manner of all Catholic monarchs, who still ruled most of Europe: he would kneel before the pope, then Pius VII, to receive a crown and blessing. The symbolism of the coronation reflected centuries of European political tradition, in which the Catholic church formally conferred royalty with the divine blessing that was thought necessary to rule; the church, in its power, had at times competed openly with those same monarchs.
But when Napoleon marched up the altar of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, he did not kneel before Pope Pius VII as the French monarchs before him had done and as Pius surely expected. As Pius raised the crown, Napoleon instead turned to face the onlookers in the pews, snatched the crown out the popes hands and placed it on his own head. In Jacques Louis Davids famous painting of the incident, completed four years later, Pius stands sullenly back, watching as Napoleon crowns his wife queen.
Napoleons coronation did not on its own end the popes influence over world politics, but it symbolized that decline after centuries of vast papal authority over Europe.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
The Peace of Westphalia brought it all to an end ~ 1.5 centuries earlier.
The Pope ceased being powerful when Catholics ceased believing in Papal power.
The same thing happened to the communists in Eastern Europe. One day everyone realized they were not the omnipotent masters they had presumed to be and their power evaporated almost overnight.
With the Pope there was no physical empire to lose so the losses were less rapid and less dramatic, but losses all the same.
Well, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul brought the Soviet Union to its knees, so some of them still have a bag of tricks under their mitre.
> With the Pope there was no physical empire to lose so the losses were less rapid and less dramatic, but losses all the same.
The Vatican has owned and/or controlled a huge financial empire.
Over the years I have come to admire the strength and steadfastness of the Catholic church in opposing the spiritual and cultural rot of homosexuality and abortion infesting the world...
No other organization in the world has stood up to the dark powers that would would destroy innocent life and righteousness...
That being said...the pope is just a man just like me...puts his pants on just the same and we have the exact same standing before God...
A sinner saved by grace...
I certainly hope the next pope chosen will be younger more conservative and fearless in confronting the evils in this world...
There was an empire to lose, though. The Papal States covered a good chunk of Italy until the mid-19th Century,losing them when the Popes aligned themselves with with the House of Savoy and the Kingdom of Sardinia and against Garibaldi’s republican forces.
Follow the money/wealth (and the # of strong followers).
The Papal States were a huge chunk of Northern Italy ~ they were lost when the modern Italian state was created.
“No other organization in the world has stood up to the dark powers that would would destroy innocent life and righteousness...
“That being said...the pope is just a man just like me...puts his pants on just the same and we have the exact same standing before God...
“A sinner saved by grace...
?? The Pope is seated on the throne behind Napoleon, not "standing sullenly back".
Another lesson that people will never learn. Humanity is what it is, and we are doomed to make the same mistakes over and over again. One hopes the founding documents, like our US constitution, is strong enough to blunt man's worst instincts - but in the end it probably only slows the time it takes for human nature to wreck everything again.
I so wish the Catholic church could be more than what it is. It reaches so many people and could really help prevent the next dictatorships that are sure to rise. I wish that its leadership would stop confusing social justice with socialism. That it would understand that big government, even with the best of intentions, is always a path to disaster. All too often the Catholic church simply acts as a leftist organization. Aside from abortion and gay marriage, it's on the wrong side of most big issues of the day. It's pro gun control, anti immigration enforcement, it's against the death penalty, etc. Such a waste.
The cardinals at present are a conservative group. I doubt we’ll see a liberal pope come from their vote. I’m liking the idea of an African pope the more I hear about it. African Christians don’t screw around when it comes to the progressive agenda. They reject it without hesitation.
Like you, I have very much admired the benefits that come from the centralized Catholic organization, (although let’s be honest, most American Catholics defy the church’s teachings. Look at Biden). I have actually witnessed more steadfastness among my Russian friends, members of the Eastern Orthodox Church. They have their own pope equivalent, Bartholomew I.
When the liberals apply pressure, many churches start falling like dominoes. It’s sickening. I hope the next pope is a hardliner. No compromise. Compromise with the new age commies will only bring about the death of the church.
That was when we had an AMERICAN president.
I would argue that Martin Luther posting the 95 theses, King Henry VIII telling the pope to put it his pipe and smoke it, the discovery of the new world, and the mass publication of the Holy Bible did more to end the Pope’s secular power than anything else.
Yep, and the Church did not have a state again until Mussolini created the Vatican.
Especially the last, the Bible. Once the public obtained Bibles, the Pope and the Papacy was doomed. Anyone with half a brain can see the Papacy is not what we see in the Bible.
ZC, just wanted to ping you to this comment so you can explain to Sasportas that Catholics are all intellectual snobs who think fundamentalists are ignorant rubes ... not the reverse.
Jeez. They, and Mrs. Thatcher, were giants.
Be careful what you wish for.
They may be very orthodox, but they often have very strong hatred for non Africans. Seen in a few times in my wanderings.
The reports of political death are greatly exaggerated.
Which theocracy, with fewer than 1000 citizens is able to command world attention, have dictators literally shaking in their pants(General Jaruzelski), and have its leader draw millions to open air events? Hmmm, what would that be??
If you guessed Vatican City, you would be right!
Fortunately, political power isn’t essential in the spreading of the Gospel, but it certainly helps.
No other organization has more charitable hospitals, schools, or charitable anything than the Catholic Church.
As Peter was the leader of the Apostles after the Resurrection, so his successor leads his brother bishops in the care of the Church and its believers, as well as its ministries of charity and evangelization to the entire world.
Regarding the Bible and the organization of the Church, one only need look at Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21. You will continue to notice in the entire book of Acts that Peter is the lead figure. St. Paul goes to Jerusalem to see Peter first, then James, but no other Apostles (Galatians 1:18).
These references are only a small sampling of what the Bible tells us about the organization of the Church.
I hope this helps!
Posting a bunch of RCC advertisements doesn’t help.
Will the real apostle Peter please stand up? It certainly isn’t your celibate, rosary bead counting, Mary idolator, pompous monarch with a crown on his head on a throne in Rome, the list goes on and on, Peter the Pope. The apostle Peter I see in the Bible is NONE of this!
The Peter I see in the Bible was not celibate, he had a wife, his counting of rosary beads while mumbling prayerful repetitions to Mary is not in the Bible. No record in the Bible of him being called a Pope, or Holy Father. Nowhere does he say the church is founded on himself at the rock either, he said Jesus Christ is the one the church is founded on, 1 Pet. 2:6-8.
you are looking at things purely from the US point of view. In the US there will be a move away from the detracting points you raise, but in the wider area, the Church has been against dictators — John Paul II’s election was the turning point, he brought down the communists in Poland which was the starting point for the house of cards to fall down.
people with more than half a brain see that orthodoxy is what God ordained. If you want to follow arianism or gnosticism, that’s your choice.
OK, since you don’t want to use the Bible to understand the evolution of the Church, I encourage you to read historic accounts of the times, as well as Church history written by secular authors.
While your opinion of Peter is strictly your matter, it would be worthwhile to understand how the eleven original Apostles spread the Gospel, creating a unified entity until the first schism in around year 1054.
You ascribe a significant amount of emotion, and falsity in your post, so I won’t take it personally, but rather as a sign of ignorance of basic facts.
Lol. Romanists must not be all bad. You actually stand against some non-orthodox beliefs that I stand against: arianism and gnosticism. I commend you for that. Ireneaus would be proud of both of us.
Now, if you and SpirituTuo would only do the same with the great mass (no pun intended) of other non-orthodox things within Romanism...
What is your definition of orthodox vs. non-orthodox?
Also, what is “Romanism?”
I have assumptions of what you mean, but don’t want to put words into your mouth.
No need for assumption, no need for you to have to assume anything. My posts are clear enough. Easy for anyone to see where I am coming from, what I mean by orthodox and Romanism.
We are “tail end Charlie” on this thread. Start another thread on that subject and I might accomodate you. I say “might,” because I’ve got other things going on around here.
“Yep, and the Church did not have a state again until Mussolini created the Vatican.”
The Popes didn’t recognize the Italian state until this was done.
“I would argue that Martin Luther posting the 95 theses, King Henry VIII telling the pope to put it his pipe and smoke it...”
These definitely hurt, but had less impact than the 1054 schism (as can be seen today).
“the discovery of the new world, and the mass publication of the Holy Bible”
I would think these helped spread the influence of the Vatican. Until recently Latin America voted the “Catholic line” in the UN; now the only people voting “Catholic” are the Muslim countries.
The fact is that such sassy folks are just compensating for the shallowness of their beliefs by hitting out at the Church
Wasn’t aware of that but it makes sense.
The treaty between the Vatican and the Italian government was used as evidence of collusion when the Balkan countries persecuted Catholics aftet the war. Basically, the secular Italian state that had seized the Papal States agreed to concessions to the Church (in education and such), and the Vatican recognized the state that had seized its land.
Reagan was the genius and the 800 pound gorilla that destroyed communism.
Those other two figures were of great help to Reagan as were other allies, but without him and the the United States and it’s 45 years of economic and military warfare against the Communists then that historical period would not be so different than the previous decades.