The Papal Forgery

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 16
But the kindness of Charlemagne only excited the cupidity and envy of the rapacious priests. Not content with their estates and tithes, they aspired to a position far above the lay-lords, and even above the monarch himself. Stimulated by past success, they now attempted by a daring forgery to accomplish the object of their secular ambition. A title to almost imperial power is now for the first time, after the lapse of 450 years, brought to light. By this original deed of gift it was discovered, that all which Pepin or Charlemagne had conferred on the church of Rome was only an installment of the royal grant to the chair of St. Peter by the "pious emperor Constantine."
As our main object throughout this period of the church's history is to present the real character of the papal system, the means by which it reached its wonderful influence and power, and the secularizing effects of the Church and State alliance, we copy the pope's own letter from Greenwood. The reader will, no doubt, be surprised to find that any man with the smallest pretension to respectability—far less the head of the church—could ever have fabricated such a document, and that merely to gain more territory and power. But we must remember that Thyatira was characterized by "the depths of Satan," and so has the papacy ever since she drew her first breath, and so must she be until she draws her last. Rev. 17, 18 describe both her character and her end.
"Considering," says pope Hadrian, "that in the days of the blessed pontiff Sylvester, that most pious Emperor did, by his donation, exalt and enlarge the holy catholic and apostolic church of Rome, giving unto her supreme power over all the region of the West, so now we beseech you, that in this our own happy day, the same holy church may sprout forth and exult, and be ever more and more lifted up, so that all people who shall hear thereof may exclaim, 'God save the king, and hear us in the day in which we call upon thee!' For behold, in those days arose Constantine, the christian Emperor, by whom God vouchsafed to give all things to His most holy church, the church of the blessed Peter, prince of the apostles. All this, and many territories besides, which divers Emperors, patricians, and other God-fearing persons, had given to the blessed Peter and the holy Roman and apostolical church of God, for the benefit of their souls and the forgiveness of their sins, lying in the parts of Tuscany, Spoletum, Beneventum, Corsica, Savona—territories which were taken and kept by the impious nations of the Lombards, cause all this to be restored to us in these your days, according to the tenor of your several deeds of gift deposited in our archives of the Lateran. To that end we have directed our envoys to exhibit those deeds to you for your satisfaction; and in virtue of them we now call upon you to command the undiminished restitution of this patrimony of St. Peter into our hands; that by your conformity therewith the holy church of God may be put into full possession and enjoyment of its entire right; so that the prince of the apostles himself may intercede before the throne of the Almighty for long life to yourself and prosperity in all your undertakings."