Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Good Gentlemen... not!

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein

Chapter 7 - History of the Papacy: From origin to current oppressive state
11-18 - Fifth and sixth century papal corruption
11. Rome produced a lot of forged documents, trying to prove its authority over other bishops. Most of these are easy to see through. Leo did vaunt himself over other bishops, and "many were offended by his ambition."
12. As the Roman empire became more unstable, bishops in the empire looked to Rome more closely. Gregory said when no bishop is at fault they are all equal, and did not punish those who protested Rome's claim to unique authority.
13. Gregory didn't claim any more authority over other bishops than he put himself under. He was distressed over how much his office was given to secular affairs, unlike the Roman bishops today.
14. Rome and Constantinople fought over primacy. The rule of primacy basically followed whatever city was primary in the empire's civil government. But when this transferred to Constantinople, Pope Innocent changed that, to keep it at Rome.
15. Leo tried to prevent the first council of Constantinople from declaring Constantinople second after Rome. He was the only who protested among 600 bishops. "What but sheer ambition, I pray, could stir the man to trouble the world with such a trifle?"
16. When Constantinople's bishop later called himself "universal bishop," Roman bishop Gregory protested on principle, not just to have the title himself. That phrase, the Roman bishop back then said, is "a word of proud address that I have forbidden."
17. A usurper to emperor-ship in the roman empire gave Boniface III to be head of all the churches. From then on the pope and emperor, like "good gentlemen," carved up unstable parts of the empire and gave them to each other. [Charlemagne was crowned emperor by the pope in 800AD]
18. Things deteriorated from there, with other bishops "did not strive to restrain his ambition as zealously as they should have. And, though they did not lack courage, they were destitute of true learning and knowledge, so that they were quite unfit to attempt so great a task." Bernard shows how bad things got, Rome handing out offices of authority and spoils of them as "the ambitious, the greedy, the simoniacs, the sacrilegious, the keepers of concubines, the incestuous, and all such monsters... converge upon Rome... to obtain or retain churchly honors by apostolic authority."

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