Why didn't European states in Italy ever abolish the Papacy?

Aug 2018
274
America
What the title says. The Pope came to blows with European monarchs pretty much all the time by the High Middle Ages. Why not just get rid of him when the Papal States were not a military power and were easily conquered?
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,521
Well they did at least once.

Avignon Papacy - Wikipedia

Conquer parts of Italy was only really a prospect for the HRE, France and Spain and such a move would likely often leads to allances of others to stop such an event.

And conqueoring the papal states achieves what? the Pope removes himself sonewhere else and contniues to oppose.
 
Aug 2018
274
America
Well they did at least once.

Avignon Papacy - Wikipedia

Conquer parts of Italy was only really a prospect for the HRE, France and Spain and such a move would likely often leads to allances of others to stop such an event.

And conqueoring the papal states achieves what? the Pope removes himself sonewhere else and contniues to oppose.
The Anglo-Normans also conquered southern Italy.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,062
Italy, Lago Maggiore
It was a pivot, a central tool of the post-Roman system of power that the Germanic peoples created after some centuries of chaotic situation. After the fall of the Ostroghots Italian lands fell into a really bad period and the occupation of the Lombards at the beginning didn't help. They didn't mind about local economy and they were even followers of Arian [so Arians, in the religious sense].

Only in late 6th century they understood that economy was important and that a power cannot stand without agriculture and an active population. But the wars among Germans and Byzantines sure didn't allow the formation of the context for a new Western European center of power.

While VII and VIII centuries BCE passed the situation in the West begun to change: on a side the Franks were able to create a concrete power in the continent and on the other side something particular happened ... it was no more the Eastern Emperor to recognize the Kings in the West, but it was the Pope to crown them. In good substances the Franks accepted the Papal authority as representative of God and so the source of the legitimacy of the crowns.

Not only this, the conversion to Christianity of the Germanic peoples allowed the Church to keep on having its social and political privilege [conceded by Roman Emperors], up to the existence of the tribunals of the Bishops who administrated justice [this was among the reasons why the Emperor, later, fought with the Pope about who had the right to appoint Bishops ... they were real social and political power].

In a few words, the Pope was pivotal for the new system. But why did the Papal State exist? Substantially because of a forgery and the ingenuity of the German Emperors. The Constitutum Constantini was a false document reporting an edict issued by Emperor Constantine conceding to the Church temporal power, and so a state. The Roman Empire conceded a lot to the Church, but not temporal power or a territory.

And then? Why to leave the State of Church there, untouched? Because the Popes have been smart to take advantage from their legal status of king makers [and the contrary], for their legal capability to erase noble marriages [also between Royal persons], from their management of justice at local level ... obtaining time by time the aid of this or that power to survive. Not to talk about corruption, political support ...

Even still in 19th century when the Italian Kingdom was planning to finally conquer Rome the France complained ...
 
Apr 2015
39
USA
What the title says. The Pope came to blows with European monarchs pretty much all the time by the High Middle Ages. Why not just get rid of him when the Papal States were not a military power and were easily conquered?
Real life is not like a wargame, when you have 10 military units and the minor country has just 1 so you move in and occupy it and it becomes yours for the rest of the game. In real life, the world is full of people, and in the case of medieval Europe all of those people are thoroughly religious and would object to you attacking God's representative on Earth (even if his lifestyle was the opposite of "What Would Jesus Do" as most popes). The same reason why kings and dukes everywhere did not confiscate the golden treasures in all the church buildings - the faithful would revolt. Sometimes even the kings and dukes were believers. It took the French Revolution to shake that mindset.
 
Dec 2009
969
UK
What the title says. The Pope came to blows with European monarchs pretty much all the time by the High Middle Ages. Why not just get rid of him when the Papal States were not a military power and were easily conquered?
It was never a case of military might stopping France, Spain etc from getting rid of him as the Italian wars showed.

The Papal army is nothing more than a City guard, they are not capable of taking on Imperial level armies of Spain and France.

This is a case of religion, not military power.

Europe was Catholic and so were the population, the Church was the middle man who could endorse or rally nations and your own populace against you.

Think of it this way, every King has enemies even within his own aristocracy, ask Henry VIII, he hung enough of them, these enemies plus rival nations get emboldened when the Church supports them.

The Church also crowns a nations leader as the Holy Roman Emperor, this gives that leader a lot of backing from internal and external enemies.

The Church basically as the representatives of God on earth had to give their blessing for your Kingship.

Taking out the Pope would mean rallying all your enemies against you, causing war internally and externally and your people would still be Catholic ........... meaning a replacement Pope would be on the way.

........... only when a rival religion of Protestant Christianity arrived did the Church weaken, because the Church found themselves in a position with a rival religion so if Kings were too unhappy with them they would turn to the new religion ala Henry the VIII and most of Germany etc.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,646
Spain
Real life is not like a wargame, when you have 10 military units and the minor country has just 1 so you move in and occupy it and it becomes yours for the rest of the game. In real life, the world is full of people, and in the case of medieval Europe all of those people are thoroughly religious and would object to you attacking God's representative on Earth (even if his lifestyle was the opposite of "What Would Jesus Do" as most popes). The same reason why kings and dukes everywhere did not confiscate the golden treasures in all the church buildings - the faithful would revolt. Sometimes even the kings and dukes were believers. It took the French Revolution to shake that mindset.
I agree but Philip II was thinking about... as he wrote to his "minister" Cardinal Granvela "os certifico que los papas me traen muy cansado y cerca de acabarse mi paciencia por mucha que tengo" (1581) and in other ocassion he wrote "rezo porque no se acabe mi paciencia con el papa"...

(I assure to you that I am fed up with Popes and very close to ending my patience) "I pray because my patience doesn´t end with the Pope")... Alva asked him to give him the order to bring the chained Pope ...But Philip always controlled to himself!

He had the military power to finish with the Popes...but he never used.. althought for few moments.. he thought....
 
Dec 2009
969
UK
I agree but Philip II was thinking about... as he wrote to his "minister" Cardinal Granvela "os certifico que los papas me traen muy cansado y cerca de acabarse mi paciencia por mucha que tengo" (1581) and in other ocassion he wrote "rezo porque no se acabe mi paciencia con el papa"...

(I assure to you that I am fed up with Popes and very close to ending my patience) "I pray because my patience doesn´t end with the Pope")... Alva asked him to give him the order to bring the chained Pope ...But Philip always controlled to himself!

He had the military power to finish with the Popes...but he never used.. althought for few moments.. he thought....
Every King who had a disagreement with the Pope "thought about it" but they didn't do it, the King of France actually arrived outside the City of Rome with his full army and still didn't siege, it was more of a threat and display of power but a strongly Catholic nation like France attacking the Pope would of been a disaster for his public image of the French King and caused problems in his Kingship.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,646
Spain
Every King who had a disagreement with the Pope "thought about it" but they didn't do it, the King of France actually arrived outside the City of Rome with his full army and still didn't siege, it was more of a threat and display of power but a strongly Catholic nation like France attacking the Pope would of been a disaster for his public image of the French King and caused problems in his Kingship.

However, Sacco di Rome proved Charles wouldn´t tolerate a Pope controlled by the Frenchmen....not a France´s puppet in Rome. I think Charles had the power to abolish the Papacy.
 
Apr 2018
278
Italy
The popes were cable politicians, divide at impera, when someone become a threath for them they call someone else to fight for them or created coalitions against them. Not also to undersetimate their ideological poer since they are also religious leaders.