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THE INVESTITURE CONTROVERSY: THE EXAMPLE OF BECKET

14
kllkkPerson was signed in when posted
07-28-2011
11:54 PM ET (US)
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  Spam messages 13-12 deleted by QuickTopic 07-14-2011 08:15 AM
11
Alexandra Polly
03-27-2003
10:09 AM ET (US)
Having had already seen Becket it was hard to imagine how I would portray a vision of this story. Becket lived a rowdy life in his youth with the king and was involved in many un christian-like activities. This life of servititude to the king and the life of luxury he lived before becomming the archbishop provide a stark contrast to the views he believed in and upheld once he became the leader of the church. I do think in a vision I would come up with for this film, that contrast would be one that would verymuch stand out in any portrayl that I would create. The relationship between Henry and Becket would also be something that I would place a lot of emphasis on simply becuase it is something that I find very complex and interetsing.
10
Anna Kwon
03-24-2003
09:35 PM ET (US)
"Blocking the script", I tried to imagine my own movie of Becket, and ended up with a version similar to Kenneth Branagh's Henry V. Young Thomas rises up out of the ashes of his father's financial ruin and the death of his mother to become the shining favorite of Theobald the Archibishop, as well as a good friend of King Henry II. Prince Henry V, contrary to popular belief marking him as a "good-for-nothing" scoundrel of a king, turned out to be a most serious, earnest, and pious ruler. Thomas cast off his ties with King Henry II upon becoming the Archibishop of Canterbury, just like Prince Henry rejecting his cherished companion Falstaff when he was crowned king. However, I am not sure what to make of the relationship between Thomas and Henry II--if they were such good friends, why didn't they take steps to be reconciled to each other, petty "kisses of peace" and "saving my order" clause aside? From the readings, it seems like both sides were being needlessly uncompromising and fatalistic in order to come out on top in the power struggle between the church and the state. From where did Thomas derive his spiritual zeal for fulfilling his role as the archbishop of Canterbury, seeing as he enjoyed the kind of life he once shared with King Henry II? (For Prince Henry, it was the death of his father that apparently set him on the straight course). Since I like movies with a happy ending, was it possible to have a happy resolution in the case of Becket and Henry II? Our sources say no, but I'd like to think there might be, and if so, can anyone suggest one?
9
Christine ChungPerson was signed in when posted
03-24-2003
01:51 PM ET (US)
Throughout the passages about Becket, the relationship between the papacy and the emperor was worse than any other previous time. I think that at that time the king, Henry might forced people to admire or follow him because he was the most powerful person in the real world. However, to archbishop, such as Becket, the power of king was nothing in front of the power of the God whom the church really admired. also, as Becked mentioned, he could not admire teo rulers after he became archbishop.
8
Ana M. Pardo
03-24-2003
11:35 AM ET (US)
In last weeks readings I remember seeing the relation of church and state as a cooperative one; they needed each other for the progress of Christianity and the strengthening of the secular power. Soon, it becomes clear that church and state become competitors for power and leave behind their collaborative interaction. The church by producing laws like that of Dictatus Papae is establishing elements for its defense against the increasing intervention of kings in ecclesiastical affairs(“That he alone can depose or reinstate bishops”). Furthermore, with the elaboration of such laws, the papacy is establishing itself as the supreme power on earth: “That it may be permitted to him to depose emperors.” “That no one shall dare to condemn one who appeals to the apostolic chair.” The pope’s power is superior to all secular powers; the church may interfere in secular affairs while kings and rulers are prohibited to interfere in ecclesiastical ones. Following this logic, we can see Becket’s case as a interesting example of a man who shifts from obeying a secular hierarchy to obeying a power superior to anything else on earth, that of the church. This case is interesting because we find in it that Becket is brought to defend the “rights” of the church thanks to secular intervention in ecclesiastical affairs: it is the king, Henry II, who appoints him as archbishop. Here is an example of the failure of the secular power on trying to build alliances, favorable to its interests, with the church.
7
Sarah Pagni
03-24-2003
08:30 AM ET (US)
I found Becket’s transformation from chancellor to archbishop very interesting. He went from hunting and advising the King to being very pious and serious about his faith. However, this was important transition to make. Becket filled the roles he was needed to play. When he was the King’s chancellor, he was the King’s friend and advisor. He went hunting with the King and they were very close. When he became archbishop, he became devoted to the church. He made it seem as if he really was very serious about being archbishop. He needed to make it appear that he was qualified for the job that he had been given because it was apparent that Henry II had a hand in his appointment. If he had not been so strict with himself, many might have thought that he should not have been archbishop. By vacating his position as chancellor, he also made it very clear that he was devoted to the church. Had he not, it might have seemed that he was only Henry’s pawn or would have helped Henry bridge the church and state together. Becket made it very clear in his actions that he was now for the church even if he really didn’t want to be. He adapted to what he thought the position he was in required.
6
Jessica MoorePerson was signed in when posted
03-24-2003
02:39 AM ET (US)
To oversimplify somewhat, I keep coming back to Tennyson's Thomas a Becket who proclaims:
         I served our Theobold well when I was with him:
         I served King Henry well as Chancellor:
         I am his no more, and I must serve the Church.
I am stuck on this notion that Becket was not a saint pressed into political service, but a policy maker driven into the cloth. While Theobold most likely believed that Becket would act as a pro-church advisor in Henry's court (and there is nothing to suggest he did otherwise) there is also no reason to believe that Becket's advice was not simply in the best interest of the crown at the time. Coming out of a civil war in which neither side had a particularly outstanding claim to legitimacy, and in which the church had gained power and continually exercised it by switching alliegence, upon ascention the young Henry was indeed best served to build up power and allies before making any demands on the church, a point on which I am sure he was apprised/advised by Becket. While I can see that Becket obviously embrased the acsetic doctrine of the church upon becoming Archbishop, he seems to have remained quite concerned with the "baser" aspects of religious authority: property and political rights, which is to say position in a world where secular power was succeeding in reasserting itself against not only the church, but also the decentralized/destabalizing influence of a strong and fickle nobility. It is not surprising that he and Henry would clash, as the young Henry would undoubtedly have been advised by the mentor Becket to much the same course of action-create stability by centralizing and asserting authority over your subjects. I imagine each would have done the same if in the other's position. Somewhat off-topic-I do wonder to what extent Henry would have acted the same had he faced another Archbishop. Seeing as Becket did act as a mentor to a very youthful Henry, is it perhaps a matter of an older Henry wanting to break with and/or assert dominion over one who was such a powerful influence on him? Or was the affront of one he had considered a friend so great the ire, and therefore the punishment (not the death, simply the unwillingness of either to concede/negotiate), was more caustic? I find it quite intriguing-this idea that Henry's actions might be those of a son rebelling against his father(figure), particularly given the (ultimately successful) rebellions of his own children. Too far? Most likely.
Edited 03-24-2003 02:52 AM
5
Katie McConnaughey
03-23-2003
11:34 PM ET (US)
Jumping off of Anne’s comments, one aspect of the relationship between the church and the state that was extraordinarily interesting was the disjuncture of the notions of power and humility. In the letter of Gregory VII to Bishop Hermann of Metz, it is very clear that the church and its rulers are thought of as divine vessels, while earthly rulers are viewed as instruments of the devil. What is so striking about this, however, is that while they are denouncing the kings for wanting power, the rulers of the church, are, in essence, doing committing the same crime. For although they argue that their power is holy and derived from God, they, too, wished to be recognized as gods by their “peers.” Kings were thought to rule with “pride, plunder, perfidy, etc.” and therefore, diminish the good workings of the church rulers. What ultimately seems to torment Gregory, however, is that it is pulling the power away from the church. Although bishops perform their duties for the sake of God, an immense amount of pride prevails Gregory’s arguments that discuss “The honour and sublimity of bishops…that nothing in this life can be found more lofty than priests or more sublime than bishops. Although their motives may be different, it seems as though the issues of pride and glory are at stake in both the church and state. .” Therefore, is it justified to be power-hungry as long as it is for God’s sake? Would it not be better for the rulers of the church to remain humble?
Edited 03-23-2003 11:35 PM
4
Julie Bednarski
03-23-2003
11:27 PM ET (US)
Thomas Becket’s Power as God’s Appointed
The sources tell, that from his very conception Thomas Becket was destined to become the archbishop of Canterbury. The text stresses he placed the value of virtue above the value of scholarship, but also makes clear that he excelled at both. Thomas appears to fit all of the qualifications of the archetypal saint. Thomas only improves spiritually; although good previous to his appointment he becomes holy after it. After his consecration as archbishop Thomas is recorded as “putting off the secular man, he now put on Jesus Christ (TOMCAT p229)”. This is a very significant moment in the text, because Thomas has now begun the work for which he was born. The emphasis placed on the divine plan and predestination is particularly valid for the account of his life and martyrdom. The claim that Thomas’s authority comes directly from God supersedes any other power (at least with in the pages of his biography).
3
Sarah Signor
03-23-2003
11:08 PM ET (US)
I'm not sure if we're doing postings this week but here goes. I am really confused concerning Becket's faith. In the first document on Becket when his relationship with the King prior to his appointment as archbishop is described, he seems to very devotly follow the wishes of the King. Although described as quite virtuous he does things like wear fine clothing. When he is appointed archbishop he tells the king in one account that it will breed trouble, for as archbishop he must serve god first. He is described as telling the king that he cannot be expected to serve two masters, and that serving god will too serve the King. However before his appointment, one would assume that as a man of faith god was his master already. Is his faith altered out of a sense of responsibility to the monks of Canterbury? It was when the idea of his archbishopship was first presented to him by the King that he warns the King it will bring trouble between the two of them, so I do not understand why this appointment necessarily entailed Becket to become such a religious man and proponent of the Church.
2
Anne Colyn
03-23-2003
06:27 PM ET (US)
The seperation of church and state
What struck me in today's reading is the intensity of argumentation made by both parties, the church and the kings. Looking especially at the letter of Gregory VII to Bishop Hermann of Metz in 1081 on the theology of the church's power, the choice of arguments at times seems "ridiculous" (couldn't find a better term). Gregory writes "Moreover, for how many kings or emperors has the holy church ordered chapels or altars to be dedicated to their names..."(TOMCAT, p. 224)This statement alone is without foundation since chapels and altars stand for the adoration of God. Thus, this is a contradiction in itself. Or rather, in other words, it seems a little weak to use this argument to highlight the power of the church.
On the other hand, of course, most arguments are relevant in respect to the doctrine of the church. The number of arguments Gregory VII suggests also highlight the importance Gregory puts on his argumentation, and how important it is for the church to enforce these points in regard of the power of the church versus the state's.
This early argumentation by Gregory VII also provides more clarity on the clash between Thomas Becket and King Henry II.
Edited 03-23-2003 06:30 PM
1
Carole StrawPerson was signed in when posted
02-05-2003
03:05 PM ET (US)
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