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.