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Church and State

Because a King’s legitimacy depended largely on the support of the Church, the Church in turn was able to exert a large measure of control over raff airs of state. Thus the relationship between Church and State was often an uneasy one. An infamous episode related to this conflict of interested was the case of Thomas Becket (1187) who was made Archbishop of Canterbury by king Henry II. The king had hoped that by giving the job to this friend he could be control the power of the Church. But on his appointment Becket, feeling the pull of his religious calling, turned against Henry and refused to support his proposed reform hill, the Constitution of Clarendom (1164) which would give the king more authority in appointing bishops and enable the trial of clergymen, in civil as well les ecclesiastic courts. Eventually Henry resolved the problem of Becket’s opposition by having him murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. As result Becket was made a saint and martyr adding power and celebrity to the Church in England.
By the 14th century the Church, in particular the great monasteries, had amassed vast amounts of land and money and was no increasingly looked on with suspicion. Most of the clergy and became part of an opportunistic ruling class whose financial and political interests conflicted with the basic principles of Christian life. As a result of this movement came into existence, led by John Wicliffe. Its chief again was to divest the church of much of its wealth, which would be used for more charitable purposes. The movement as stood against war and capital punishment.

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