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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311

X: The political Crusades of the thirteenth century,   pp. 343-375 PDF (7.1 MB)

Page 374

clergy were discontented, the laity cannot have been enthusiastic about papal
policy. Moreover, the more the clergy felt oppressed by the pope, the less
they were willing to oppose the growing interference of secular rulers in
ecclesiastical affairs. Why should they risk exile and loss of revenue to
defend the rights of their churches, when the pope ignored those same rights
whenever it suited his interests? The churchmen, who had paid tenths to the
pope for his wars were not especially shocked when lay rulers demanded similar
contributions for their wars. 
 The behavior of lay rulers supports the conclusion that loyalty to the church
had been weakened by the political crusades. The crusades were not the only
cause of the decline in papal prestige, but there is a direct connection
between them and certain assertions of lay supremacy. From 1245 on, the popes
had granted tenths to French and English princes to enable them to fight
for the church; by the end of the century the kings of France and England
had become accustomed to receiving these subsidies and insisted that they
could impose them for their own purposes. The attempt of Boniface VIII (1294—1303),
in the bull Clericis laicos, to stop this practice was completely unsuccessful.
Laymen paid no attention to his orders, and the clergy begged him to revoke
a ruling which made them odious to the people. Boniface, in the end, had
to admit the right of kings to take tenths for defense of their realms. The
use of crusades in secular politics had made it easy for kings to take over
the crusade tax on the clergy. 
 Soon after Clericis laicos a political crusade helped revive the quarrel
between Philip the Fair and Boniface VIII. Two cardinals who were members
of the great Roman family of the Colonna had not been pleased by the election
of Boniface VIII. Boniface resented their attitude, and in 1297 used an act
of brigandage by a lay member of the family as an excuse to demand the complete
sub mission of the Colonnas. The cardinals, instead of giving in, resisted,
and issued public statements claiming that Boniface was not the rightful
pope. Boniface preached a crusade against the Colonnas, and succeeded in
capturing their castles and driving them into exile. But Philip the Fair
did not assist the pope in this political crusade, as his ancestors had done.
Instead, he let the Colonnas take refuge in his territory and used them in
1303 in his attack on Boniface at Anagni. And in accusing Boniface of heresy,
in trumping up charges and seeking public support against him, Philip used
many of the tricks of propaganda which the popes had developed in their political

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