Pope Boniface VIII

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Pope Boniface VIII

Pope Boniface VIII (born Benedetto Caetani; c. 1230 – 11 October 1303) was the head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 24 December 1294 to his death in 1303. Caetani was of baronial origin with family connections to the papacy.

He succeeded Pope Celestine V, a Benedictine, who had abdicated from the papal throne. Boniface spent his early career abroad in diplomatic roles. In the College of Cardinals, he discriminated not only against the Benedictines but also members of the Colonna family, some of whom had contested the validity of the 1294 papal conclave that elected him following the unusual abdication of Pope Celestine V. The dispute resulted in battles between troops of Boniface and his adversaries and the deliberate destruction and salting of the town of Palestrina, despite the pope's assurances that the surrendering city would be spared.

Boniface VIII put forward some of the strongest claims of any pope to temporal as well as spiritual power. He involved himself often with foreign affairs, including in France, Sicily, Italy and the First War of Scottish Independence. These views, and his chronic intervention in "temporal" affairs, led to many bitter quarrels with Albert I of Germany, Philip IV of France, and Dante Alighieri, who wrote his treatise De Monarchia to dispute Boniface's claims of papal supremacy and placed the pope in the Eighth Circle of Hell in his Divine Comedy, among the simoniacs.

Quotes[edit]

Unam sanctam (1302)[edit]

  • Unam sanctam ecclesiam catholicam et ipsam apostolicam urgente fide credere cogimur et tenere, nosque hanc frmiter credimus et simpliciter confitemur, extra quam nec salus est, nec remissio peccatorum,
    • Translation: WE ARE COMPELLED, OUR FAITH URGING us, to believe and to hold—and we do firmly believe and simply confess—that there is one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside of which there is neither salvation nor remission of sins
  • Sive ergo Graeci sive alii se dicant Petro ejusque successoribus non esse commissos: fateantur necesse est, se de ovibus Christi non esse, dicente Domino in Joanne, unum ovile et unicum esse pastorem.
    • If, then, the Greeks or others say that they were not committed to the care of Peter and his successors, they necessarily confess that they are not of the sheep of Christ; for the Lord says, in John, that there is one fold, one shepherd, and one only.
  • In hac ejusque potestate duos esse gladios, spiritualem videlicet et temporalem, evangelicis dictis instruimur. […] Uterque ergo est in potestate ecclesiae, spiritualis scilicet gladius et materialis. Sed is quidem pro ecclesia, ille vero ab ecclesia exercendus, ille sacerdotis, is manu regum et militum, sed ad nutum et patientiam sacerdotis.
    • We are told by the word of the Gospel that in this His fold there are two swords—a spiritual, namely, and a temporal. […] Both swords, the spiritual and the material, therefore, are in the power of the Church; the one, indeed, to be wielded for the Church, the other by the Church; the one by the hand of the priest, the other by the hand of kings and knights, but at the will and sufferance of the priest.
  • Porro subesse Romano Pontifici omni humanae creaturae declaramus dicimus, definimus et pronunciamus omnino esse de necessitate salutis.
    • Indeed we declare, say, pronounce, and define that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

External links[edit]

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