Bachelor of Arts
Jordan Lieser, PhD
Conflicts between the Catholic Church and European monarchs are nothing new. Foremost among this timeless conflict is the Investiture Controversy, beginning in 1076 due to a feud between Pope Gregory VII and King Henry IV of Germany and ending in 1122 with the Concordat of Worms. Monarchs were appointing bishops and abbots, a job meant to be for the Pope. The Concordat sought to alleviate the conflict by stating the Church had the sole ability to select the bishops and appoint abbots of monasteries. However, this crisis continued centuries after as monarchs sought to appoint, or publicly support, clergy to their court. Monarchs across Europe, such as Emperor Frederick II, Emperor Charles V, and Philip II, exemplify the church vs state power struggle. These monarchs exhibit a what, why, and exception in their power struggles culminating in a continued power struggle beyond that of the Investiture Controversy. Emperor Frederick II had a complex relationship with the papacy and was eventually excommunicated three times. Charles V saw the Church as vital to maintaining his empire and saw the Church as an obstacle to his growing empire. Philip II also saw the Church as an obstacle when pursuing his duty as “defender of Christendom,” and he used his prestige as a Catholic monarch to achieve his political goals. These monarchs all embody the power struggle between church and state over who holds the supreme authority in the physical world.