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The Early-Period Polemics and Public-Sphere Formation: The De Ordinando Pontifice

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Chapter Summary

This chapter first justifies the polemical endeavour by referring to the contemporary status of the church and quoting Gregory I. The interpretative use of Gregory I to qualify a scriptural rule, thereby establishing wider confines as to what can be regarded as legitimate criticism, probably reflects the nature of the nascent public sphere of the mid-eleventh century. Then, before a moral-philosophical argument is put forward, the case of Benedict IX is considered. The argument, appended to Boethius' reflections on 'bad' (malum) and elaborating on the implications of simony, is followed by a discussion of simony in moral-theological and canon-law terms. Like the popularising of the criticism following the presentation of the cases of the two popes, these reflections on the role of secular power introduce a polemical encounter with King Henry III in person. Finally, the chapter explains the relationship between secular and sacerdotal powers using historical examples.

Keywords: canon law; early-period polemics; Investiture Contest; moral theology; moral-philosophical argument; Pope Benedict IX; Pope Gregory VI; public-sphere formation; sacerdotal hierarchy; secular hierarchy

10.1163/ej.9789004158849.i-776.16
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