SUNDAY REVELATIONS: every human creature [was] subject to the Roman pontiff.

Is Papal Infallibility Retroactive?

Image result for Pope Boniface VIIITherefore, if the earthly power errs, it shall be judged by the spiritual power … but if the supreme spiritual power errs it can be judged only by God, and not by man … Therefore we declare, state, define and pronounce that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman pontiff.
— Pope Boniface VIII, in the 1302 bull Unam Sanctam,

Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) didn’t want to save your soul; he wanted to rule your life. Boniface VIII was one of the most ardent supporters of papal authority. What started as a minor squabble with King Philip IV of France over a government’s ability to tax clergy members escalated until Boniface VIII excommunicated the king and released a decree stating that “every human creature [was] subject to the Roman pontiff.”

Boniface VIII sent mercenaries to destroy other people’s castles, declared all the prominent Italian Colonna family’s property forfeited and proceeded to parcel their land out among his family members. In September 1303, an army led by the Colonna family kidnapped the Pope and demanded that he abdicate. Held in captivity for multiple days, the Pope refused. He survived the attack and returned to Rome only to die a month later.

  • In his Inferno, Dante portrayed Boniface VIII as destined for hell, where simony is punished, although Boniface was still alive at the fictional date of the poem’s story. Boniface’s eventual destiny is revealed to Dante by Pope Nicholas III, whom he meets. A bit later in the Inferno, Dante reminds of the pontiff’s feud with the Colonna family, which led him to demolish the city of Palestrina, killing 6,000 citizens and destroying both the home of Julius Caesar and a shrine to Mary. Boniface’s ultimate fate is confirmed by Beatrice when Dante visits Heaven. It is notable that he does not adopt Guillaume de Nogaret’s aspersion that Boniface VIII was a ‘sodomite’, however, and does not assign him to that circle of hell (although simony was placed in the eighth circle of fraud, below sodomy, in the seventh circle of violence, designating it as a worse offense and taking precedence above activities of sodomy).

1 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Roger Rabbit #

    Forcible conversion. How quaint.

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