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ABSOLUTISM 131

his own guidance. The fact remains that nothing could have revealed more clearly his purpose and his determination.

The Roman Church, says the Pope in these sentences, was founded by the Lord alone. Only the Roman bishop can rightly be called universal. He alone has the power to issue new laws, to establish new congregations, to remove bishops without a synodal decree, to divide rich dioceses and to consolidate poor ones. His alone is the right to confer the Imperial insignia. He alone can give all princes his foot to kiss. His name is mentioned in all prayers of the Church the name of "Pope," by which he is called, is reserved to him alone. He has the right to depose Emperors; no synod can be termed general without his assent. There is no appeal from his verdict; he can be judged by no one. All the more important business of all the churches must be brought before the Holy See. The Roman Church, as the Sacred Scriptures testify, has never erred, and will not err in all eternity. When the Roman Pope is canonically consecrated, he becomes holy through the merits of St. Peter. No one can be considered Catholic who is not in whole-hearted agreement with the Roman Church. The Pope can free subjects of the oath of loyalty they have sworn to evil masters.

The Church is, therefore, the true Imperium Romanum, and the Pope is the true Emperor. Not in vain had Leo III anticipated the desire of Charlemagne for the Imperial crown on Christmas morning, 800. And not without reason had the King's biographer referred to his master's surprise. The power which had conferred the diadem, could some day also take it away again; and if it wished to reserve it unto itself, it would also find a way to do so. A law on which Greg- ory could base his daring sentences was not impossible to discover. Not one of these dicta but had its roots in the past, even in Augustine's De Civitate Dei. Another state letter the Pope wrote during his last years enables one to view the anxiety with which he justified his policies in the light of his own conscience. But what ruler would like to stand in front of the "mirror of princes" which this Pope lifts up? It is a dream picture which demands priestly virtue of the same layman in whom, from the height of the hierocratic ideal, it discerns laicist impotence as well as an arrogance "over those like himself," which


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