For many centuries at this time, the worst popes in the history of the office, committing the most heinous crimes against God and man, sat on the papal throne, and used their position not only to trample the flock, but to grasp ever more power, wealth, and licentious living to themselves. (Ten Horns, pg. 261).
“About the year 1300 Pope Boniface VIII, seeking to appropriate to his See the royalties that belonged to the crown of France, Philip the Fair, the then king, did taunt him somewhat sharply: the tenor of whose tart letters are these:
“Philip by the Grace of God, King of the French, to Boniface, calling himself Sovereign Bishop, little or no health at all.
“Be it known to the great foolishness and unbounded rashness, that in temporal matters we have only God for our superior, and that the vacancy of certain churches belongs to us by royal prerogative, and that appertains to us only to gather the fruits, and we will defend the possession thereof against all opposers with the edge of our swords, accounting them fools, and without brains who hold a contrary opinion.”
“In those times all men acknowledged the pope for God’s vicar on earth, and head of the universal church. Insomuch, that (as it is said) common error went instead of a law, notwithstanding the Sorbonists being assembled, and demanded, made answer, that the king and the kingdom might safely, without blame or danger of schism, exempt themselves from his obedience, and flatly refuse that which the pope demanded; for so much as it is not the separation but the cause which makes the schism, and if there were schism, it should be only in separating from Boniface, and not from the church, nor from the pope, and that there was no danger nor offence in so remaining until some honest man were chosen pope.
“Everyone knows into what perplexities the consciences of a whole kingdom would fall, which held themselves separated from the church, if this distinction be not true.”
Junius Brutus, A Defence of Liberty Against Tyrants, part II (written in 1579).