The Laymen Conflict

pope and kingIn 1075 AD Pope Gregory the VII held a counsel concerning the ordaining of people into religious offices by laymen. A layman is a nonordained member of a church. The result of the counsel was that clerics installed by laymen would be deposed and laymen doing the installing would be excommunicated. Now King Henry the IV was deeply involved in the laymen situation and he felt threatened when the Pope wanted to change things. The King continued with his unprecedented ways and the Pope demanded that he stop. He refused. The Pope had no choice but to depose and excommunicate King Henry! Henry faced with rebellion decided to submit to the Pope and the excommunication was lifted. About three years later King Henry started up again with using laymen to install his religious figures. The Pope again excommunicated Henry only this time the King amassed an army to drive the Pope out of Rome. The Pope was then forced to live the rest of his days in exile. “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile.” – Pope Gregory the VII

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