papal decree

anonymous asked:

I don't wanna bother but I was just wondering. If an English prince/king marries his mistress, would that make their kids legitimate? I'm asking bc that's what John of Gaunt did with his mistress. But apparently the Magna Carta prohibits and doesn't recognise legitimation by subsequent marriage. (Is that why the Tudor claim is kinda rickety and wobbly?)

Oh wow, Medieval English Law questions are back in my inbox.  I’m not a scholar of the Magna Carta, by any means.

I would find it super odd if the Magna Carta addressed this very particular fact pattern, since it just about only ever happened to John of Gaunt and Katheryn Swynford.  Although I guess that little loophole probably needed tying up so no one ever took advantage of it in the future (I can honestly see HVIII doing that).  John of Gaunt and Katheryn Swynford’s children were legitimized by royal and papal decrees, not as an automatic function of the law.  That is to say, they didn’t get married and all of the sudden their kids were legitimized, they had to petition for that status.

The claim by Henry VII that the throne was his by right of inheritance was based on his status as a direct descendant of John of Gaunt.  However, although Gaunt’s children had been legitimized, they had been barred from inheriting the throne.  I don’t think Henry VII had a right to the throne by inheritance, and if he wanted to use that argument he probably should have had his family un-barred (?) from inheriting the throne.  The right by conquest was enough of a reason, I don’t know why he insisted on using the weak-ass inheritance reason in tandem with it.

The Weirdest Trial in History,

One of the Popes of the 9th century, Pope Formosus’ reign was fraught with war, chaos, and political intrigue.  During his five year reign Formosus made many enemies, among them was his successor, Stephen VI.  Pope Stephen hated Formosus so much, that he would take weird to a whole new level in order to exact revenge on his former enemy.

In January of 897, about seven months after Formosus’ death, Pope Stephen ordered Formosus’ corpse exhumed from its grave and put on trial.  In what would become known as the “Cadaver Synod”, Pope Stephen charged Formosus with a number of crimes including perjury and having ascended the Papacy illegally.  During the trial, Formosus’ rotting corpse was propped up on a throne and clothed in Papal vestments.  Stephen himself acted as prosecutor while a church deacon was appointed to serve as Formosus’ defense attorney.  While judges were appointed from local priests, the synod amounted to nothing more than a show trial in which Stephen maniacally screamed, raved, and hurled insults at the dead corpse.  Formosus’ was declared guilty on all charges.  As punishment, his corpse was stripped of its Papal vestments, three fingers on its right hand were removed (the fingers used to conduct blessings), and all orders issued by Formosus’ were nullified.  Formosus’ corpse was buried in an unmarked paupers grave.  Later it was again disinterred and cast into the Tiber River.  

The Cadaver Synod turned out to be Stephen VI’s undoing, as the people of Rome were too weirded out by his bizarre and insane behavior.  He was quickly deposed and imprisoned, where he was strangled to death during the night.  In the meantime Formosus’ corpse had been recovered from the Tiber and reburied in its proper grave at St. Peters Basilica.  The next Pope, John IX, nullified the Cadaver Synod and issued a Papal decree banning the trial of a dead person.


Robert the Bruce Part VI — King of Scots Forever

After the Battle of Bannockburn, everything started to go right for Robert the Bruce.  He kept up the pressure on the English by conducting more raids in England.  He even invaded Ireland to remove English rule from the island.  Incredibly because of this, he was named by the Irish High King of Ireland (peashooter didn’t know this!).  Now that his queen was freed from the English, the Bruce also got down to the business of building a family, and thus building a dynasty.  It seemed like a matter of time before Edward II would have no choice but to recognize Scotland’s sovereignty.  

However Edward II had one powerful influence who could undermine everything the Bruce had worked for… God (through the power of the Pope).  Incredibly Edward II was able to convince the Pope to issue a number of Papal Bulls which invalidated all Scottish claims to independence.  The Pope decreed that King Edward II was the only legitimate rule of Scotland, that it was Scotland’s fault for the war, and renewed Robert the Bruce’s excommunication.  While today it seems unthinkable for the Pope to order around nations, in the Middle Ages people were extremely religious, and the Pope was looked upon as the literal human voice of God.  The Pope’s decrees may have well have been commandants from the Big Man Himself.

The Papal decrees devastated the Bruce.  As an excommunicated man he was doomed to an eternity in Hell after death.  Those who followed him were doomed to the same.  Those who traded or made diplomatic relations with Scotland were also scorned by God.  In 1320 a group of Scottish clergy and lawyers presented a document to the Pope called the “Declaration of Abroath”.  They argued that it was England’s fault for the war, outlined the history of English atrocities, defended the Bruce’s claim to the throne, and asserted the popular sovereignty of the Scottish People.  Furthermore, they made the bargain that if the Pope annulled his earlier decrees, the Scots would go on crusade for the Church. Regardless of their arguments and offers, the Pope refused to recognize the Declaration of Abroath.

To further destabilize Scotland, Edward II ordered every church within the Kingdom of England to curse Robert the Bruce twice daily, before and after Holy Mass.  In the meantime the Bruce was growing older and his health was declining.  He even contracted leprosy, a terrible disease which caused him terrible pain, weakened his muscles, and disfigured his face.  To the Bruce, this was a signal that the curses were working, and that he was disfavored by God.  It seemed as though Scotland would be damned forever, but in 1327 something unexpected happened.  England fell into civil war and King Edward II was overthrown and replaced by his son Edward III.  In the chaos and confusion of the civil war the Bruce saw one last opportunity to bid for Scottish independence.  Building a large army, he invaded England.  Due to the weakened state of England, King Edward III had no other option to recognize the Bruce’s rule and Scottish Independence.  In 1328 the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northamptom was signed, in which England official recognized Scottish sovereignty.  Due to the treaty, the Pope was also convinced to recognize Scottish independence.  He anulled all previous Bulls issued against Scotland, and revoked the Bruce’s excommunication.

During the last year of his life, the Bruce spent his time trying to get right with Jesus.  During “The Harrying of North” and similar massacres, the Bruce had ordered to slaughter of many innocent Scots in an almost genocidal mania.  To atone for his sins, the Bruce financed crusades, traveled on several holy pilgrimages, sponsored the building of abbeys, monasteries, and cathedrals all over Scotland, and practiced penance rituals.  Such rituals involved lying on the cold floor naked while praying for forgiveness, fasting for weeks on end, and self flagellation.  He also hired several hundred monks to pray for his soul continuously until his death.  

Robert the Bruce died of leprosy on June 7th, 1329.  After his death, his five year old son David II was crown King of Scots.  The English would invade Scotland 3 years later, sparking the 2nd War of Scottish Independence.  So much for Papal Bulls and English Treaties. After his death Robert the Bruce’s heart was removed and taken on a Scottish crusade to Spain in order to fight the Moors. After the crusade, the heart was returned to Scotland.  Today Robert the Bruce is one of the most popular figures in Scottish history, whose story has gone from history, to larger than life legend.  

~ Decretum.
Culture: French
Period: Medieval (Gothic)
Date: ca. 1200–50
Author of text Gratian, died no later than 1159

From the source: Several leaves pasted together to make a bookcover, laid on paper. Text is from Gratian’s Decretum of ca. 1140, including his Causa II, Q. viii, C. 57/58. Gratian’s Decretum (also known as Concordantia Discordantium Canonum) is a collection of papal letters and conciliar decrees, which became the most important law book of the 12th century. 1 column of text and 1 column of commentary are extant, 29 lines extant, all in Latin. Written in an early Gothic bookhand (commentary in Gothic cursive) in black ink with red rubrics. Later used with other leaves as a binding, with a Hebrew leaf pasted-down onto the binding’s spine. When the Hebrew leaf was removed, it left a mirror-image offset.