Jean Bodin concerning popes
>But I think no man doubts, but that the king even before his consecration enjoys both the possession and propriety of the kingdom, not by inheritance or his fathers right, and much less by the country of the bishops or peers, but by the royal law and custom of the realm, as was long since decreed of the French men, that no man should think the power of the king to depend on the pleasure of the bishops; not for that the Senat ever doubted the power of the king before his coronation; but that those vain quirks of the bishops might be utterly reselled. For it is an old proverb with us, '''That the king doth never die, but that so soon as he is dead, the next male of his stock is seized of the kingdom, and in possession thereof before he be crowned, which is not conferred unto him by succession of his father, but by virtue of the law of the land; least the succession of the kingdom should be uncertain, then which nothing can be more dangerous in a Commonweal.
>And to show a greater submission of the emperors unto the popes, the subscription of the emperor's letters unto the pope, is this, I kiss the hands and feet of your Holiness. So used always the emperor Charles V to subscribe to his letters, when he writ unto pope Clement the seventh. Which he did not upon a feigned courtesy, but indeed in most humble and servile manner kissed the Pope's feet, in open sight of the people, and the greatest assemblies of many noble princes, at Bononia, Rome, and last of all at Marsielles in Provence, where were met together the Pope, the Emperor, the Kings of France and Navarre, the dukes of Savoy, of Buillon, Florence, Ferrara, Vitemberg the Grand Master of Malta, with many other princes and great lords, who all kissed the Pope's feet, except the dukes of Buillon and Vitemberg, Protestant princes, who had forsaken the rites and ceremonies of the church of Rome. In far more base sort did that duke of Venice humble himself (who of the Venetians themselves is called a dog) for that he with a rope about his neck, and creeping upon all four like a beast, so craved pardon of Pope Clement the 5th. But nothing was more base, than that which almost all historiographers which write of the Pope's affairs, report of the Emperor Frederick the Second, who to redeem his son out of prison, lying prostrate upon the ground at the feet of the Pope Alexander the Fourth, suffered him to tread upon his head, if the histories be true. Whereby it is well to be perceived, the Majesty of the Emperors, by the power (should I say) or by the outrageousness of the Bishops of Rome, to have been so diminished, as that scarce the shadow of their ancient majesty seems now to remain. They also say themselves to be greater than the emperors, and that so much greater, as is the Sun greater than the Moon: that is to say, six thousand six hundred forty and five times, if we believe Ptolemy and the Arabians. And that more is, they have always pretended a right unto the empire: for the imperial seat being vacant, they have given the investitures unto them which held of the empire, and received of them their fealty: as they did of John and Luchin, viscounts of Milan, the imperial seat being empty in the year 1341, who are in the records called vassals of the church of Rome, and not of the empire; and are forbidden their obedience unto Lewes of Bavaria the Emperor, who was then excommunicated, as we have before said. For which cause the Canonists have maintained, that the emperor cannot give up his imperial dignity unto any, but unto the pope.
>But howsoever the Bishop of Rome pretended to have a sovereignty over all Christian princes, not only in spiritual, but also in temporal affairs, whether they got it by force of arms, or by the devotion and grant of princes; or by long possession and prescription: yet could not our kings even for any most short time endure the servitude of the Bishop of Rome, nor be moved with any their excommunication, which the Popes used as firebrands to the firing of Christian Commonwealths. For these Popes interdictions, or excommunications, were wont with other nations, to draw the subjects from the obedience and reverence of their prince: but such has always been the love of our kings towards their people (and so I hope shall be forever) and loyalty of the people towards their kigns: that when pope Boniface the Eight saw himself nothing to prevail by his excommunication, nor that the people were to be drawn from the obedience of their king, after he had publically excommunicated Philip the Fair, he in like manner excommunicated all the French nation, with all them which took Philip for a king. But Philip having called together an assembly of his princes, and other his nobility, and pereceving in his subjects in general a wonderful consent for his defense of his state and sovereignty: he thereupon writ letters unto Boniface (which are common in every man's hand) to reprove him of his folly: and shortly after sent Nogaret with his army into the Pope's territory, who took the Pope prisoner, (giving him well to understand that the King was not his subject, as he had by his Bull published) but seeing him through impatience to become furious and mad, he set him again at liberty. Yet from that the Pope's interdiction, the King by the advice of his nobility and Senat, appealed unto a general council, which had power over the Pope, abusing the holy cities. For the king next unto Almighty God had none his superior, unto whom he might appeal: but the Pope is bound unto the decrees and commands of the council. And long times before Philip the Victorious, and his realm being interdicted by Pope Alexander the Third, who would have brought him into his subjection: answered him by letters, That he held nothing of the pope, nor yet of any prince in the world. Benedict the third, and Julius the second, had used the like excommunication against Charles the seventh, and Lewes the twelfth (who was called the Father of his country) that so as with firebrands they might inflame the people to rebellion: yet failed they both of their hope, the obedience of the subjects being nothing diminished, but rather increased: the Bull of excommunication which the Popes legat brought into France, being by the decree of the parliament of Paris openly torn to pieces, and the legat for his presumptuousness cast in prison… True it is, that they which have thought better to assure the majesty of the Kings of France against the power of the Pope, have obtained the Pope's bulls whilest they yet stat in the city of Auignion to be exempted from their power. And namely there is in the records of France a Bull of Pope Clements the Fifth, whereby he not only absolved Philip the Fair and his subjects from the interdiction of Boniface the Eight, but also declared the King and the realm to be exempted from the Pope's power. Pope Alexander the Fourth also gave this privilege unto the realm of France, That it could not for any cause be interdicted, which was afterward by seven Popes successively confirmed by Gregory, Clement the fourth, Urban the fifth, and Benedict the twelfth, whose bull yet remain in the records of France: which yet seem unto me not to increase, but rather to diminish the majesty of our Kings, who were never in any thing beholden unto the Popes. And that more is, the court of parliament of Paris, has been by many decrees declared the clause, By the authority Apostolical; usually inserted into the Popes rescripts sent into France, to be void, mere abusive, and to no purpose: and therefore it behooved him, that would help himself by any such the popes rescript, to protest in judgment, That he would not any way take benefit of that clause. By all which things it is plainly to be understood, not only the kings, but the Kingdom of France also, to have been always free from the Pope's power and command.