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Dictatus papae is a compilation of 27 statements of authority claimed by the pope that was included in Pope Gregory VII's register under the year 1075.
The principles expressed in Dictatus Papae are mostly those expressed by the Gregorian Reform, which had been initiated by Gregory decades before he became pope. It does not mention key aspects of the reform movement such as the abolishing of the triple abuse of clerical marriage, lay investiture and simony. The axioms of the Dictatus advance the strongest case for papal supremacy and infallibility. The axiom "That it may be permitted to him to depose emperors" qualified the early medieval balance of power embodied in the letter Famuli vestrae pietatis of Pope Gelasius I to the Eastern Roman Emperor Anastasius (494), which outlined the separation and complementarity of spiritual and temporal powers - auctoritas (spiritual) and potestas or imperium (temporal), the former being ultimately superior to the latter - under which the West had been ruled since Merovingian times. "None of the conflicts of the years 1075 and following can be directly traced to opposition to it (though several of the claims made in it were also made by Gregory and his supporters during these conflicts)". Later medieval developments of the relationship between spiritual and secular power would come with Pope Boniface VIII, who famously formulated the image of the two swords in the papal bull Unam Sanctam (1302).
While most of the principles of the Dictatus Papae detail the powers of the papacy and infallibility of the Roman church, principle 9 dictates that "All princes shall kiss the feet of the Pope alone," and principle 10 states that "His [the pope's] name alone shall be spoken in the churches."
The title Dictatus Papae implies that the pope composed the piece himself. It does not mean a "papal dictate" or any kind of manifesto; rather, it means "papal dictation". It was not published, in the sense of being widely copied and made known outside the immediate circle of the papal curia.
Some historians believe that it was written or dictated by Gregory himself, and others that it had a different origin and was inserted in the register at a later date. In 1087 Deusdedit, a cardinal and ally of Gregory, published a collection of decretals, dedicated to Pope Victor III, that embodied the law of the Church – canon law – which he had compiled from many sources, both legitimate and false (see Pseudo-Isidore). The Dictatus Papae agrees so closely with this collection that some have argued the Dictatus must have been based on it.