Dictates of Pope Gregory

Dictates of Pope Gregory (Dictatus papoe, Dictatus Gregorii VII, Dictatus Hildebrandini), a title given to twenty-seven theses, in which Gregory VII (Hildebrand) is said to have set forth the grounds and principles of the supremacy and power of the pope in relation to the Church and to secular governments. They are contained in lib. 2 of his letters, between the 55th and the 56th epistles, and also in Harduin, Concil. tom. 6, p. i, p. 1304 sq. "Baronius, ann. 1076, no. 31, and Christ. Lupus, in Notis et Dissertt., consider these genuine; the French writers, Jo. Launoius, Epistol. lib. vi, ep. 13, Anton. Pagi, crit. in Baron. 1. c., and especially Natalis Alexander, Hist. Eccl. saec. xi et xii, dissert. 3, set them down, not indeed as spurious, but as really inconsistent with Gregory's principles. The more modern authorities, following Mosheim, suppose them to express Gregory's principles, though written by some one else. They seem to have been an Index Capitulorum of some synod held under Gregory's influence" (Gieseler, Ch. Hist. div. 3, § 47). The dictates themselves are as follows:

1. The Roman Church was founded by the Lord alone.

2. The bishop of Rome only is properly termed the universal bishop.

3. He only can appoint or depose a bishop.

4. The papal legate has the right to preside in all Church assemblies, even though he is not the equal in rank of the bishops, and he may pronounce sentence of deposition upon them.

5. The pope may deprive absent bishops also of their rank.

6. No person is permitted to occupy the same house with a person excommunicated by the pope.

7. The pope only is qualified to issue new laws whenever circumstances demand it, to organize new congregations, to change a cathedral into an abbey, to divide a rich see, or to contract several impoverished sees into one.

8. He only has power to make use of the imperial insignia.

9. Princes must kiss the feet of the pope only.

10. Only his name is to be recited in the churches.

11. The name and title of pope apply to one person only.

12. He is empowered to depose the emperor.

13. He may translate bishops from one see to another.

14. He can ordain the clergymen of all churches.

15. A clergyman that has been ordained by him may serve with other churches, but no other bishop has the right to appoint him to a superior position.

16. The pope only has power to pronounce a council oecumenical.

17. No chapter nor book of the holy Scriptures may be declared canonical without his sanction.

18. No person can overthrow his decisions; but he, on the other hand, may subvert the judgments of all men.

19. No person can judge him.

20. None may dare to condemn him who appeals to the apostolical chair.

21. All matters of consequence in any church must be reported to him.

22. The Romish Church has never erred, and, according to the testimony of the holy Scriptures, will not err to all eternity.

23. If the pope was canonically elected (i.e. according to the rules of the Church), he infallibly becomes a holy man, through the merits of St. Peter.

24. Inferiors (subjects) may complain of their superiors with the permission of the pope.

25. The pope may depose a bishop, and reappoint him, without convoking a synod.

26. One who is not agreed with the Romish Church does not belong to the Catholic (orthodox) Church.

27. The pope may release subjects from their fealty to wicked rulers. (The original Latin is given in Gieseler, Church History, div. 3, § 47).

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