chapter  6
40 Pages

Episcopal Appointments in a European Context

With the transition to papal provision now complete, English episcopal appointments ceased to be solely English affairs; it had become inevitable that each appointment would have a European element. Of course, even in the days when almost all vacant bishoprics had been filled without foreign influence or intervention, episcopal appointments had not been a solely English concern; instead, the topic was one that exercised both church and state across the entire breadth of Latin Christendom. Given that late medieval Western Europe was, in ecclesiastical terms, subject to a single spiritual ruler (the pope) and a single legal system, within which framework all episcopal appointments had to be made, it is unsurprising that the English experience was mirrored across Europe. In each province of the Catholic Church, capitular election had become the dominant form of appointment during the decades around 1200, only to be superseded by papal provision little more than a century later.1