Concordat of Worms

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The Concordat of Worms, sometimes called the Pactum Calixtinum by papal historians,[1] was an agreement between Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V on September 23, 1122 near the city of Worms. It brought to an end the first phase of the power struggle between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Emperors and has been interpreted[2] as containing within itself the germ of nation-based sovereignty that would one day be confirmed in the Treaty of Westphalia (1648); in part this was an unforeseen result of strategic maneuvering between the Church and the European sovereigns over political control within their domains. The King was recognized as having the right to invest bishops with secular authority ("by the lance") in the territories they governed, but not with sacred authority ("by ring and staff"); the result was that bishops owed allegiance in worldly matters both to the pope and to the king, for they were obligated to affirm the right of the sovereign to call upon them for military support, under his oath of fealty. Previous Holy Roman Emperors had thought it their right, granted by God, to name the Pope, as well as other Church officials, such as bishops. One long-delayed result was an end to the belief in the divine right of kings. A more immediate result of the Investiture struggle identified a proprietary right that adhered to sovereign territory, recognizing the right of kings to income from the territory of a vacant diocese and a basis for justifiable taxation. These rights lay outside feudalism, which defined authority in a hierarchy of personal relations, with only a loose relation to territory.[3] The Pope emerged as a figure above and out of the direct control of the Holy Roman Emperor.

Following efforts by Lamberto Scannabecchi (later Pope Honorius II) and the Diet of Würzburg (1121) in 1122, Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V entered into an agreement that effectively ended the Investiture Controversy. By the terms of the agreement, the election of bishops and abbots in Germany was to take place in the emperor's presence as judge between potentially disputing parties, free of bribes, thus retaining to the emperor a crucial role in choosing these great territorial magnates of the Empire. Beyond the borders of the Empire, in Burgundy and Italy, the Emperor was to forward the symbols of authority within six months. Calixtus' reference to the feudal homage due the emperor on appointment is guarded: "shall do unto thee for these what he rightfully should" was the wording of the privilegium granted by Calixtus. The Emperor's right to a substantial imbursement on the election of a bishop or abbot was specifically denied.

The Emperor renounced the right to invest ecclesiastics with ring and crosier, the symbols of their spiritual power, and guaranteed election by the canons of cathedral or abbey and free consecration. The two ended by granting one another peace.

The Concordat was confirmed by the First Council of the Lateran in 1123.

The Concordat of Worms was a part of the larger reforms put forth by many popes, most notably Pope Gregory VII. These included celibacy of the clergy, end of simony and autonomy of the Church from secular leaders (lack of autonomy was known as lay investiture).

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