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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 253

IX.] CONTINUANCE OF THE PAPACY. 247 universal acquiescence in its rights, however attenuated, conserves to it: the papacy appals us by the arrogance and grandeur of assumption which it raises on a foundation that seems to be itself a hypothesis, to say the least. " Yet, as the languishing empire lives by law, the aspiring papacy must live by law, and rights and proprietary rights too. So the forged donations of Italian territory, the baseless claims to feudal supremacy within the Sicilian kingdom ; the spiritual position based on the false decretals; all of them attempts to supply to the rising power the sort of strength that sustained the falling power. When the point of substantive independence is reached, how are the wider claims made to rest on the firmer basis of spiritual and religious obedience : the law of papal Rome becomes the living voice of the Catholic Church, the voice of the pope in cathedra an infallible utterance; the jurisprudence of the decretals a universal jurisprudence; the sovereignty of Innocent III and Boniface VIII a sovereignty which it is blasphemous to deny, criminal to gainsay. But when the idea has gained recognition, far be it from us to say that the power so won was used unlawfully. No, the spiritual claims of the papacy, however unjustifiable in their early-history, were to a large extent justified by the beneficial use to which they were put by the better pontiffs. The Court of Rome was a tribunal for international arbitrament, the efficiency of which was one great proof of the law-abiding character of the ages which it influenced. I do not forget the wars of the medieval papacy, wars, some of them, which were encouraged and even prompted by those who were ex officio the peace-makers of the world: but when we consider how, with all those exceptions, the influence of the Church, during these ages worked from the Roman centre, was as a rule employed for the prevention of war, for the shortening of inevitable struggles, and for the healing of wounds

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