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    December 23, 1897

    “After the Creed was Made: How the Papacy Ruled and Ruined. Popes and Kings” The Present Truth 13, 51, pp. 805, 806.

    ATJ

    HAVING anointed Pepin king of the Franks, Pope Stephen persuaded him to march into Italy to repel the Lombard rulers from the territory which was claimed as the estates of the Church. Astolph, the Lombard king, sued for peace and pledged himself, on oath, to restore the territory of Rome.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 805.1

    Pepin returned to his capital; and Stephen retired to Rome. But Pepin was no sooner well out of reach, than Astolph was under arms again, and on his way to Rome. He marched to the very gates of the city, and demanded the surrender of the pope. “He demanded that the Romans should give up the pope into his hands, and on these terms only would he spare the city. Astolph declared he would not leave the pope a foot of land.” (Milman.)PTUK December 23, 1897, page 805.2

    IN THE NAME OF PETER

    STEPHEN hurried away messengers with a letter to Pepin in which the pope reminded him that St. Peter had promised him eternal life in return for a vow which he had made to make a donation to St. Peter. He told Pepin that he risked eternal damnation in not hastening to fulfil his vow; and that as Peter had Pepin’s handwriting to the vow, if he did not fulfill it, the apostle would present it against him in the day of judgment. Pepin did not respond, and a second letter was despatched in which the pope “conjured him, by God and His holy mother, by the angels in heaven, by the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, and by the last day,” to hasten to the rescue of his holy mother, the Church, and promised him, if he would do so, “victory over all the barbarian nations, and eternal life.” But even yet Pepin did not respond; and as Astolph was pressing closer and harder, the pope determined to have St. Peter himself address the dilatory king. Accordingly, he sent now the following letter:—PTUK December 23, 1897, page 805.3

    I, Peter the Apostle, protest, admonish, and conjure you, the most Christian kings, Pepsin, Charles, and Carloman, with all the hierarchy, bishops, abbots, priests, and all monks; all judges, dukes, counts, and the whole people of the Franks. The Mother of God likewise adjures you, and admonishes and commands you, she as well as the thrones and dominions, and all the hosts of heaven, to save the beloved city of Rome from the detested Lombards. If ye hasten, I, Peter, the apostle, promise you my protection in this life and in the next, I will prepare for you the most glorious mansions in heaven, will bestow on you the everlasting joys of paradise. Make common cause with my people of Rome, and I will grant whatever ye may pray for. I conjure you not to yield up this city to be lacerated and tormented by the Lombards, lest your own souls be lacerated and tormented in hell, with the devil and his pestilential angels. Of all nations under heaven, the Franks are highest in the esteem of St. Peter; to me you owe all your victories. Obey, and obey speedily, and, by my suffrage, our Lord Jesus Christ will give you in this life length of days, security, victory; in the life to come, will multiply his blessings upon you, among his saints and angels.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 805.4

    This aroused Pepin to the most diligent activity. Astolph heard that he was coming, and hastened back to his capital; but scarcely heard he reached it before Pepin was besieging him there. Astolph yielded at once, and gave up to Pepin the whole disputed territory. Representatives of the emperor of the East were there to demand that it be restored to him; but “Pepin declared that his sole object in the war was to show his veneration for St. Peter;” and as the spoils of conquest, he bestowed the whole of it upon the pope—A.D. 755.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 805.5

    All the donations which Pepin had bestowed upon the papacy were received and held by the popes, under the pious fiction that they were for such holy uses as keeping up the lights in the churches, and maintaining the poor. But in fact they were held as the dominions of the new sovereign State descended from the Roman republic, the actual authority of which had now become merged in the pope. All these territories the pope ruled as sovereign. “The local or municipal institutions remained; but the revenue, which had before been received by the Byzantine crown, became the revenue of the Church: of that revenue the pope was the guardian, distributor, possessor.” (Milman.)PTUK December 23, 1897, page 805.6

    THE POPE MAKES CHARLEMAGNE EMPEROR

    In A.D. 768, Pepin died, and was succeeded by his two sons, Charles and Carloman. In 771 Carloman died, leaving Charles sole king, who by his remarkable ability became Charles the Great,—Charlemagne,—and reigned forty-six years in all—thirty-three of which were spent in almost ceaseless wars.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 805.7

    Charlemagne was a no less devout Catholic than was Clovis before him. His wars against the pagan Saxons were almost wholly wars of religion; and his stern declaration that “these Saxons must be Christianized or wiped out,” expresses the temper both of his religion and of his warfare. He completed the conquest of Lombardy and placed, upon his own head the iron crown of that kingdom, and confirmed to the Papacy the donation of territory which Pepin had made.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 805.8

    It seems almost certain that Charlemagne really aspired to consolidate the territories of the West into a grand new Roman empire. In addition to the kingship of all the wide Frankish dominions, he wore the iron crown of Lombardy. The next step was to be emperor indeed; and that was soon brought about. Leo III. was pope. In 799 he made a journey to France, and was royally received and entertained by Charlemagne. “At an imperial banquet, the king and the pope quaffed together their rich wines with convivial glee.” In 800 Charlemagne made a journey to Rome. He arrived in the city November 23, and remained there through the month of December.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 805.9

    On Christmas day magnificent services were held. Charlemagne appeared not in the dress of his native country, but in that of a patrician of Rome, which honour he had inherited from his father, who had received it from the pope. Thus arrayed, the king with all his court, his nobles, and the people and the whole clergy of Rome, attended the services. “The pope himself chanted the mass; the full assembly were wrapped in profound devotion. At the close the pope rose, advanced toward Charles with a splendid crown in his hands, placed it upon his brow, and proclaimed him Cesar Augustus.” The dome of the great church “resounded with the acclamations of the people, ‘Long life and victory to Charles, the most pious Augustus, crowned by God the great an pacific emperor of the Romans.’” Then the head and body of Charlemagne were anointed with the “holy oil” by the hands of the pope himself, and the services were brought to a close. (Gibbon.) In return for all this, Charlemagne swore to maintain the faith, the power, and the privileges of the church; and to recognise the spiritual dominion of the pope, throughout the limits of his empire.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 805.10

    “THAT GREAT CITY, WHICH REIGNETH OVER THE KINGS OF THE EARTH

    THUS had the papacy arrogated to itself all the authority of the ancient Roman empire, and with this the prerogative of bestowing upon whom she would, the dignities, titles, and powers of that empire. And now, as the representative of God, the pope had re-established that empire by bestowing upon Charlemagne the dignity and titles of Caesar, Augustus, and emperor.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 806.1

    Such was the origin, and thus was established, the doctrine of “divine right” in rulers. Thus was established the doctrine of the supremacy of the bishop of Rome over all things earthly, to whom it “belongs” to set up and to pull down kings and emperors. Thus did the Papacy become the dispenser of kingdoms and empires, the disposer of peoples, and the distributor of nations. As she had already, and for a long while, asserted supreme authority over all things spiritual, in heaven and hell, as well as upon earth, and now by this transaction was enabled to assert supremacy over kingdoms, and empires, and their rulers, henceforth the papacy recognized no limits to her dominion over heaven, earth, and hell. A. T. JONES.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 806.2

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