Dictatus (Excerpt)
Gregory VII on the Pope's Perogatives
Chapter 14

The Struggle Between Secular and Spiritual Authorities

Among the letters and decrees of Gregory VII a list of propositions is found which briefly summarizes the claims of the papacy. The purpose of this so-called Dictatus is unknown; it was probably drawn up shortly after Gregory's accession and no doubt gives an official statement of the powers which he believed that he rightly possessed. The more important of the twenty-seven propositions contained in the Dictatus are given below.

The Roman church was founded by God alone.
The Roman bishop alone is properly called universal.
He alone may depose bishops and reinstate them.
His legate, though of inferior grade, takes precedence, in a council, of all bishops and may render a decision of deposition against them.
He alone may use the insignia of empire.
The pope is the only person whose feet are kissed by all princes.
His title is unique in the world.
He may depose emperors.
No council may be regarded as a general one without his consent.
No book or chapter may be regarded as canonical without his authority.
A decree of his may be annulled by no one; he alone may annul the decrees of all.
He may be judged by no one.
No one shall dare to condemn one who appeals to the papal see.
The Roman church has never erred, nor ever, by the witness of Scripture, shall err to all eternity.
He may not be considered Catholic who does not agree with the Roman church.
The pope may absolve the subjects of the unjust from their allegiance.

From Readings in European History, Vol I, edited by J.H. Robinson.


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