What is the source of the Roman Empire?
Opinion 3: The Roman Empire Is From The Pope
Student Touch briefly on some other arguments for that often quoted opinion.
Master  Another argument is this. The pope makes good the deficiency in the empire when there is a vacancy, Extra, De foro competenti, c. Licet c.2, col.250]. Therefore the empire is derived from the pope.
Student Tell me briefly how that argument is replied to.
Master It is said that just as by the authority given to him by Christ the pope does not meddle with temporal affairs when there are vacancies in many other kingdoms and also he is not the guardian of the heirs of other kingdoms who are less than full age, so by the papal authority given to him by Christ he does not meddle in the empire when there is a vacancy, but (if he acts rightly in meddling) by the authority of the Romans or of the electors, to whom [the Romans], or to all the electors, it principally pertains to make good the deficiency in the empire when there is a vacancy, who can transfer their power to the pope.
Student Would you bring forward another argument?
Master  Another argument is as follows. The pope has both swords, that is, the material and the spiritual one. Therefore, the empire is from him.
Student Tell me how that argument is replied to.
Master It is said that the pope does not have both swords, as Pope Nicholas attests when speaking of the church he says, as we find in 33, q. 2, c. Inter haec c.2, col.1152), "He only has the spiritual sword. He does not kill but restores to life."
Student The gloss at that place [col.1652] replies that the church only has the spiritual sword "with respect to execution", yet has the material sword hidden as it were in its sheath and bestows it on the emperor to use it. For both swords are hidden in the breast of the faithful church. Whoever, therefore, is not in that place has neither [sword]. This is proved by the fact that the Lord did not say to Peter, `Throw away your sword', but said [cf. Mat.26:52 and John 18:11], `Put your sword back into its sheath', so that Peter would employ, that is, the power of the sword not himself but through the emperor. For the power of the material sword is attached to the church but is deployed by the emperor who receives it. As a sign of this, when the highest pontiff crowns a Caesar he shows him the sword held in its sheath. When he has received it the prince takes it out and indicates by flourishing it that he has accepted the exercise of it.
Master That argument is condemned in many ways by some people, who regard it as heretical.
Student Why that opinion is thought to be heretical you will explain below when you recite why the opinion we are now treating is considered heretical. So set down briefly now how that reply is condemned.
Master It is attacked first as follows. The king of France and very many other kings do not receive the power of the sword from the pope. Indeed even when they begin to rule they do not need it from anyone, either for their coronation or for any other power granted to them. Therefore the emperor too does not receive the power of the sword from the pope.
[It is attacked] secondly because the power of the sword is outside the church. For otherwise no pagan would have been a true prince.
[It is attacked] thirdly because when Christ said to Peter, "Put your sword back in its sheath", Peter was not pope. For he became a shepherd after the resurrection, although he was an apostle beforehand, (dist. 50, c. Considerandum [c.3, col.198] and c. Fidelior [c.4, col.198] It can not be shown through those words, therefore, that the power of the sword was given to the pope by Christ.
[It is attacked] fourthly because other kings receive from archbishops or bishops the crown of their kingdoms by which royal authority and even temporal power are designated and yet they do not have it from the archbishops and bishops. For they have all the power of the sword and of temporal administration before their coronation that they have after it, and at their coronation they receive much less than those who have been elected do when they are confirmed by consecration; yet before their consecration the latter acquire everything which is in their jurisdiction, (Extra, De translatione episcoporum, c. 1, Cum ex illo [c.1, col.96].
[It is attacked] fifthly because the one who is elected as emperor is crowned as a king before he is crowned as emperor by the pope. Every king, however, has the power of the material sword. Therefore before the emperor receives from the pope the sword held in its sheath he has the material sword, even with respect to its use.