What Is The Source Of The Roman Empire? Opinion 3: The Roman Empire Is From The Pope ~ William Of Ockham

What is the source of the Roman Empire?

Chapter 18

Student After we have sought to learn by way of discussion and recitation whether it is appropriate for the world to be under one emperor and by what virtues the emperor of the world ought to be distinguished, let us come to the Roman empire, asking first from what the Roman empire has come, whether, that is, it is from men or from God.

Master One opinion is that the Roman empire was established by God and not by men. Another is that it was from men, that is from the Roman people. A third is that the true Roman empire was from the pope. For they (the last group) [[or read dicit with Mz]] say that after he was converted to catholic faith Constantine the Great humbly transferred to the church, that is to the highest pontiff, that irregular power which he was previously wielding abroad illegitimately, and received back again [[could intus be right, parallel with earlier foris?]] from the vicar of Christ, the successor that is of blessed Peter, the ordinate power of empire from heaven, which thereafter he used legitimately to punish evildoers and to praise the good, so that he who before was abusing his permitted power was then discharging the authority granted to him. They say therefore that before Constantine received the Roman empire from blessed Peter's successor it was not a true empire, rather usurped by men and permitted by God, neither granted nor ordained by God.

Opinion 3: The Roman Empire is from the pope

Student Because I am sure that that last opinion was that of one who was one of the greatest prelates in the world [Innocent IV?], I want to discuss it with you by a more careful disputation, by arguing for and against it and by replying to those arguments, so that those who study it will have an opportunity of understanding a catholic truth which is perhaps unknown to many, even those who are regarded as most learned. Would you first, therefore, undertake to argue for it.

Arguments for Opinion 3, with answers

Master That opinion, which seems to be often repeated in substance in the glosses on the Decrees and Decretals and to be proved by many reasons based on sayings of the seniors, seems to be provable. [1] Thus the gloss on dist. 96, Cum ad verum [col. 466], seems to hint at some reasons for this [opinion], one of which can be formulated as follows: the true Roman empire is from him who can depose the emperor. But, as the aforesaid gloss implies, the pope "deposes the emperor (15, q. 6, c. Alius and c. Iuratos" [col. 466]). The true Roman empire, therefore, is from the pope.

Student That argument seems clearly to fail and the gloss described seems to bring forward erroneously the chapters it adduces. For the first chapter [it cites] (Alius [c.3, col.756] does not speak of the Roman emperor but of the king of the Franks. For these are the words of that chapter: "Again another Roman pontiff, that is Zacharias, deposed a king of the Franks from his kingdom, not because of his iniquities but because he was incompetent for such great power, and in his place he substituted Pippin, father of the emperor Charles, and he absolved all the Franks from their oath of fidelity." There is no mention of an emperor in these words. It can not be proved by that chapter, therefore, that the Roman empire is from the pope, although it seems provable that the kingdom of the Franks is from the pope.

Master If it is granted that the kingdom of the Franks is from the pope it seems that it can be concluded that the Roman empire is from the pope, because it is not a stronger argument for the kingdom of France than for the Roman empire.

Master [[This sounds like the master's speech. There is some confusion here.]] Different people try to reply to this objection in different ways. For some say that the Roman empire and the kingdom of France are not similar because, as they say, the kingdom of France is more subject to the pope than is the Roman empire. For, as they say, the kingdom of France has been from ancient times subject to the Roman empire both in law and in fact and still is subject in law, as the gloss on Extra, Qui filii sunt legitimi, c. Per venerabilem [col.1543] attests. When the pope says, "Since the king" of France, that is, "does not recognise a superior in temporal affairs," it [the gloss] says "Yet in law and in fact he is subject to the Roman empire". And the gloss on dist. 2, c. Ius quiritum says, "The emperor is the ruler of the whole world ... ff. ad leg. Rhod. qui levandae. He who does not want to be under the Roman emperor, therefore, can not have an inheritance." And the gloss on Extra, De privilegiis, c. Super specula [col. 1832] clearly asserts that the laws of the Roman emperors ought by right to be observed by everyone, even if in fact they are not observed by everyone. We gather from these and very many others that the kingdom of France is by right subject to the Roman empire. The emperor of the Romans, therefore, to whom it is subject can commit it to the pope, just as he also [can commit] to others the power of deposing the king of France for various crimes. In matters of this kind he could not commit to the pope the power of deposing the emperor. By commission of the Roman emperors, therefore, the kingdom of France can be more subject to the pope than the Roman empire can. This is confirmed by the fact that the Roman emperor is not more subject to the pope than are those princes who are by right subject to the emperor. If the king of France, therefore, is subject to the emperor by right, the emperor is not more subject to the pope than the king of France is, in such a way, that is, that the pope can depose the emperor and not the king of France.

Some people say otherwise, that by his papal authority the pope can depose neither the emperor nor the king of France except for heresy, yet with the authority of the Romans he could depose the emperor for certain other reasons and with the authority of the Franks he could depose the king of France for certain other reasons. The gloss on the chapter adduced above (15, q. 6, c. Alius [col. 1083]) seems to suppose this. About the word deposed it says, "he is said to have deposed because he agreed with those who were deposing", that is by receiving the power of deposing from them. Therefore, he deposed, as it were, together with them.

Some people say otherwise, that by his papal authority the pope can depose neither the emperor nor the king of France except for heresy, yet with the authority of the Romans he could depose the emperor for certain other reasons and with the authority of the Franks he could depose the king of France for certain other reasons. The gloss on the chapter adduced above (15, q. 6, c. Alius [col. 1083]) seems to suppose this. About the word deposed it says, "he is said to have deposed because he agreed with those who were deposing", that is by receiving the power of deposing from them. Therefore, he deposed, as it were, together with them.

In another way it is said that Pope Zacharias put his sickle into another's harvest, namely by usurping to himself a power which was not within the competence of his office, something other highest pontiffs are often known to do to the prejudice of the laity, as the gloss on Extra, De foro competenti, c. Si quis clericus [col.541-2, but this is the wrong reference. Offler (OP 1, p. 85): Si quis laicum, s.v. de consuetudine] attests when it says, "Either they are negligent", that is, the laity in showing justice to clerics, "or the pope does not daily grant letters to clerics against the laity on any question at all and so usurps the jurisdiction of others," against what the immediately preceding chapter, the chapter Novit [c.13, col.242], says. We read there, "Let no one think that we intend to disturb or diminish the jurisdiction of the illustrious king of the Franks, since he neither wishes to nor ought to obstruct our jurisdiction."

Disciple You have set down the arguments of some people that the gloss brings forward the chapter Alius erroneously. Now explain why it seems that the same gloss brings forward the chapter Iuratos [c.5, col.756] erroneously.

Master This seems to be so to some people because that chapter does not mention an emperor but a certain knight called Hugh to whom certain other knights had taken an oath, and in that place the pope did not depose the said Hugh from his dignity or power but only ordered that his knights be enjoined not to serve the said Hugh. This was not to depose the said Hugh, however, because when some lord is excommunicated his vassals ought not obey him or communicate with him, and yet the lord is not deposed from his lordship because of the excommunication and the obligation by which a vassal is bound to him is not even removed, as the gloss on 11, q. 3, Julianus [col.955] attests. It says, "It is true that excommunication does not remove the obligation by which a vassal is bound to his lord, but only the effect of the obligation. So if the lord is absolved he is immediately bound to obey him."

For these and many other [reasons] it is clear to some people that it can not be proved by those chapters that the pope deposes or could depose an emperor.

It also seems to some people that it does not pertain by right to the pope to depose an emperor. Because the pope does not have greater power over the emperor and the Roman empire than over other kings and any other kingdoms:- because if he were to have greater power over the emperor than over other kings he would have such power either (a) by divine law or (b) by human law:- [he does] not [have it] (a) by divine law, because we do not read anywhere in divine scripture that any power over the Roman emperor was bestowed on the pope which was not granted to him over other kings; nor does he have such special power over the emperor (b) by human law, because it does not seem that anyone gave him or could have given him power of this kind:--

because if someone gave or could give him power of this kind it was either (a) the emperor or (b) someone inferior to the emperor. But (a) the emperor could not give the pope such power over the emperor and not over other kings. This is (i) because an emperor can not subject an emperor to the pope more than other kings, (ii) because an equal doe not have power over an equal, iii) because if an emperor who gave such power over an emperor to the pope was not subject to the pope and the emperor who succeeded him was subject to the pope, the succeeding emperor was not a true successor, because when an emperor is more subject than his predecessor there is not a true succession to the right of the other, and so the succeeding emperor would not be a true emperor. And so an emperor who had subjected the Roman empire to the pope in this way would have been the destroyer of the empire so far as in him lay, and consequently he would have done nothing, because no emperor can destroy the empire and anything he would do towards the destruction of the empire would not hold up in law but should even be revoked by his successor as vain in law and in fact.

And (b) no one inferior to an emperor has given or could have given such power over the emperor to the pope, because an emperor could not have given it.

For these reasons it seems to some people that that argument is inadequate to prove that the true Roman empire is from the pope.


Text and translation by John Scott.
Copyright (c) 1999, The British Academy

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Linkin Park Singer Chester Bennington KILLS SELF BY MEANS OF AUTO-EROTIC ASPHYXIATION!

Actor Robin Williams Dead By Means Of Autoerotic Asphyxiation (AEA)! "It Was A Hollywood Thing"

Death Photo Of Robin Williams Dead By Means Of Autoerotic Asphyxiation?

UPDATE: Daughter's Boyfriend Murdered Parents Savvas & Amy Savopoulos And Then Burned Down The House?

FLINT MUSLIM TERRORIST Amor Ftouhi Is The DELPHI KILLER? Murdered Liberty German and Abigail Williams

Wall Street Journal Editorial Writer Joseph Rago Is Found Dead - Accidental Death By Hanging

UPDATED: GRUNGE ROCKER CHRIS CORNELL KILLS SELF BY MEANS OF AUTO-EROTIC ASPHYXIATION!

HAJJ DOOM! Over 50 Muslim Hajj Pilgrims Died On Sunday!

Tenth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Luc.18. v. 9. Monday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634

Novena To Our Lady Of Knock Day Three 2017