Pope Boniface VIII: Clericis Laicos and Unam Sanctam

(1296 and 1302)

Document Text

Clericis Laicos

Bishop Boniface, servant of the servants of God, in perpetual memory of this matter.

Antiquity teaches us that laymen are in a high degree hostile to the clergy, a fact which also the experiences of the present times declare and make manifest; inasmuch as, not content within their own bounds, they strive after what is forbidden, and loose the reins in pursuit of what is unlawful. Nor have they the prudence to consider that all jurisdiction is denied them over the clergy—over both the persons and the goods of ecclesiastics. On the prelates of the churches and on ecclesiastical persons, monastic and secular, they impose heavy burdens, tax them and declare levies upon them. They exact and extort from them the half, the tenth or twentieth or some other portion or quota of their revenues or of their goods; and they attempt in many ways to subject them to slavery and reduce them to their sway. And, with grief do we mention it, some prelates of the churches and...

Source: Benjamin Kidd. Principles of Western Civilisation. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1902.