Kingship As A Religious Office

Kingship As A Religious Office

Kingship As A Religious Office


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The comments of the Anglo-Norman Anonymous can be used to bolster later medieval arguments of kings who claimed to rule by divine right. They came that the king has been though consecrated by earthly beings has the authority that comes from God himself. All earthy Kings rule only because God allows it hence all people on earth should respect the authority of the King since he can be considered to be God’s representative on earth. God has given them the power to rule over his church on earth.

The rule of the King can be considered a partnership with the rule of the priesthood. The priests rule over the souls of men while the king rules over the bodies of men. The kingdoms over which the king’s rule are equated to the throne of Christ. Hence it is the duty of kings to administer justice upon the church just as they do to their kingdoms. They are also supposed to strengthen the kingdoms and manage it in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ. The kings rule together with Christ over the earthly realms.

There can be no separation of the rule of the soul from that of the body. Human beings are made up of both body and souls hence the two should be administered together. In the same way, priestly rule and the rule of kings go hand in hand as the two rules over both bodies and souls of their subjects. The purpose of the resurrection is so that both the body and mind of men should be saved together. For this to be achieved it is imperative that the two; body and soul are kept together. The priests and kings will work hand in hand towards this purpose.

The comments of the Anglo-Norman Anonymous were made to the point that the king had immense power on earth hence no one should be able to question their authority. They assert this by saying that a king cannot be considered a layman but a partner of God while fulfilling their earthly duties. Even though the kings were anointed by lesser men such as bishops, it has always been the norm that more inferior men are made to consecrate those that are superior to them.

The fact that God ordained kings, mean that they rule rightfully. Any question to their power is the same as questioning the authority of God himself. The king is the anointed of the lord. Therefore, he has the right to rule over his brothers, and all the people in the land should adore him. The king is also the master and the defender of the church that all the members of the church should look up to.

These statements show that the king has many responsibilities that rest on his shoulders. He is not only to rule over the earthly kingdom but also to offer guidance and administer justice to ht church of God. The many duties show how special the king is in the sight of the lord, and God gives him divine wisdom that enables him to save both the souls and bodies of men. They should, therefore, be allowed to rule with autonomy and without question because it is God himself who leads the king throughout the decision he makes. Even the bishop who consecrates the king is not above him; he is merely an inferior person who is sent to anoint the king. These sentiments were a way to prove to men that the rule of kings was divinely ordained and deserved respect and adoration from their subjects.

Hugh of Saint Victor differed in his interpretation of divine and secular power. According to Hugh, here is a clear separation between holy and temporal powers. The difference in the two powers stems from the fact that there are two different lives, earthly life, and heavenly life. The human life involves a physical body that lives from the soul while the heavenly life consists of the soul living from God. In each of the two lives, there are things that are necessary to keep it alive and invigorated.

The laymen are mainly occupied with the considerations of their earthly lives, and hence their power is earthly. The clergy, on the other hand, is concerned with the wellbeing of the spiritual body hence their power can be said to be of a divine nature. The secular power is headed by the king while spiritual power has its leadership in the religious pontiff. The two powers cannot be one; they have to be separate.

The Hugh had to separate the two powers possibly to remove the confusion and doubts cast by the sentiments that the king ruled by divine authority. According to the Hugh of Saint Victor, this was not the case as the secular power represented by the King was entirely different from divine power that is described by the pontiff. It was therefore crucial that the people differentiate between the things that concerned their spirituality and those about their earthly life.

The spiritual life is of more importance as compared to earthly life. Earthly life is but for a short time while the body lives while spiritual life is for a much longer time when the soul lives from God. Worldly power is under the rulership of spiritual or divine power. The authority that is given to any earthly or secular power has to be granted by the spiritual power. When the secular power errs in any way, the spiritual power has the task of correcting and judging the earthly power. Divine power, on the other hand, comes from God himself hence no one can decide it, only God.

The two accounts are somewhat different with the first account by the Anglo-Norman Anonymous stating that the king rules by divine rights while Hugh of Saint Victor asserts that secular power and religious power are entirely different and separate. The first account can be considered a way to give the king more power and to make the subjects of the king more respectful to the power of the king. It can create some confusion especially when the king makes mistakes, and no one can challenge his actions that are deemed to come from God. The second account gives a more definite direction on how secular and divine powers are separated. The pontiff should concentrate on matters relating to spirituality while the king is left to deal with earthly things. The separation of powers allows divine power to institute the secular forces and also to judge secular power in case of any errors.