Today in Catholic History – Paschal II begins his papacy

On 13 August 1099, Pachal II began his papacy, succeeding Pope Urban II.

Paschal’s major concern during his papacy was in upholding the right of the Pope to invest bishops with their authority. Several European rulers sought to place their own supporters in power as bishops so as to ensure that the bishop’s loyalty would be with the secular ruler than with the pope. In this area, Paschal II found himself in conflict with the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V and English king Henry I.

Paschal II tried to end the problem of lay investiture by forbidding all bishops from accepting any land or privileges from a secular authority and instead to depend upon alms for their livelihood. However, many bishops enjoyed their estates and rulers like Henry V wanted control over the bishops. Henry V would hold Paschal II in prison for two months until he forced him to grant the emperor the power to invest bishops. Paschal’s concession would in turn lead to great outrage from church reformers and a council held in 1112 would hold that any concessions granted by Paschal II were void because they had been by means of violence. As for Paschal, he felt obliged to keep his promise to Henry. As such the matter of investiture would remain unresolved during Paschal’s papacy.

Paschal II also ordered the rebuilding of the basilica of Santi Quattro Coronati after it had been destroyed by the Normans in 1084 and appointed the first bishop of North America – Erik Gnupsson to the province of Greenland and Vinland [Newfoundland].

Pascal II’s attempt to require bishops to live without secular privileges

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