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32
~th
the advent of the
Protestant Reformation, the
virtual religious monopoly the
Roman Catholic Church had
enjoyed for centuries came to a
sudden, dramatic end. But the
Reformation brought with it
more than a loss of spiritual
power for the Papacy.
It
also
cost the church much of the po–
litical clout it had managed to
accumulate over the years.
In many parts of Europe, na–
tional sovereigns used the fer–
ment of the Reformation as
additional leverage to assist
them in breaking free from the
clutches of Rome. The head of
state suddenly found himself
replacing the Pope in the eyes
of his subjects as the one su–
preme ruler on earth. Now it
was the king or prince, not the
Pope, who was "God's represen–
tative."
To Be Kingly Is Divine
So began the concept of the
"divine right of kings." The king
was God's anointed on earth.
To oppose his will was consid–
ered nothing short of blas–
phemous.
The White Horse: False Religion
And post-Reformation kings
were not a bit hesitant when it
came to making pretentious
claims. Louis XIV called him–
self the "Sun King" and as–
serted, "I am the state." His
successor, Louis XV, also
wasn't ashamed to boast: "Sov–
ereignty lies in me alone. The
legislative power is mine uncon–
ditionally and indivisibly. The
public order emanates from me,
and I am its supreme guardian.
My people is one with me."
With the king and not the
church claiming all the political
marbles, the nature of warfare
in the Western world took on
an entirely different com–
plexion. The bitter religious
battles formerly fought be–
tween Catholic and Protestant
(see insert on pages 34 and 35)
were now replaced by wars of
kings. Military campaigns were
often launched merely to deter–
mine a hotly contested question
of royal succession. The average
subject watched much of this
monarchial maneuvering with
somewhat detached indifference.
The Modern State Enshrined
But the advent of the French
Revolution changed all this.
The religious affections of the
individual citizen again under–
went a fundamental change.
The issue of popular sover–
eignty dramatically demolished