Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages by Walter Ullmann

By Walter Ullmann

This vintage textual content outlines the improvement of the Papacy as an establishment within the heart a long time. With profound wisdom, perception and class, Walter Ullmann lines the process papal heritage from the past due Roman Empire to its eventual decline within the Renaissance.

The concentration of this survey is at the establishment and the belief of papacy instead of person figures, spotting the shaping strength of the popes' roles that made them striking personalities. The transpersonal thought, Ullmann argues, sprang from Christianity itself and resulted in the Papacy as an establishment sui generis.

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Extra resources for Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages

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As he himself laid down in one of his legal enactments it was his duty to see that in his laws his subjects were given ‘the true faith’. The emperor as legislator was indeed ‘divinity walking on earth’. Yet Justinian’s legislation concerning heresy, the extermination of the remnants of paganism and the practice of Judaism, strongly influenced later Western developments: all these legislative measures were transmitted in his own codification supplemented by his additional laws. That his numerous interventions in the highly involved theological disputes in the Eastern half of the empire in the end brought about serious intellectual unrest, is not difficult to understand.

And because the pope continued the status and office of St Peter, he was (not an ‘apostolus’ but) an ‘apostolicus’—hence the ease with which the new adjectival form of ‘apostolic’ could be applied to the Roman see. The great advance of this Leonine theme lay in the separation of the (objective) office of the pope (which was the same as St Peter’s) from the (subjective) personality of the pope. And for governmental purposes it was the office of the pope, the papacy as such, which mattered, not the purely subjective personality, whether he was a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ pope.

Despite its terminological borrowings from the Roman government, this Leonine fixation of the primatial position of the pope drew a sharp distinction between the principatus of the papacy and the principatus of the empire. For the understanding of the evolution of the papacy it is essential to keep in mind that its principatus was held to have nothing to do with history, because it was the direct effluence of a unique divine act. The establishment of the Petrine papal monarchy was conceived as the exercise of the sovereign divine will.

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