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The Role of The Papacy: The Early Church to Present Day Essay

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This essay gives a brief outline of the major developments in the role of the Papacy between the Early Church and the present day. It will cover four aspects. The development of the papacy as a temporal ruler, Papal elections, the Curia and the development of the ‘mission role’ of the Papacy. It will explore how the papacy changed from being an organisation that had the influence to appoint kings and arrange state borders to one with a billion followers. These followers see the papacy as being responsible for the administration, pastoral and spiritual care of their membership.

The development of the papacy as a temporal ruler.

The temporal power is the dealings of the popes of the Roman Catholic Church in government, state and
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Twelve of which were imperial appointments, the remainder being chosen by the aristocracy of Rome. The early choice of pope was traditionally the role of the nobility and Roman laity. The emperors also dismissed five popes during this time . The last pope chosen by this method was Victor II his death in 1057, heralded the end of the cooperation between the Popes and the imperial court. The Lateran synod in 1059 decreed that responsibility for selecting popes fell to the clergy. Cardinal Bishops selected the candidates put forward and chose the pope from within their number. The emperor still had a final veto, but the people chosen would not be his personal choice. In this regard, the Roman church become self governing. In modern times, the pope appoints Bishops and Cardinals, who will then choose future pope’s from within their number.

The development of the Curia.

Pope Urban II, fashioned a type of church governing body, based on the style of a monarchical type of government. The curia came into force after the Lateran synod of 1059, which saw many changes in how the church would be organised. It became responsible for administrative, social, and education affairs. The curia had special departments that dealt with all legislative and financial work. The pope became the head and had the final say in all matters. This made the papacy the central point of Roman Christianity. Throughout its history, the curia has been
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