The History of Eucharistic Presidency
By Ken Chaison
I think it is important to know what was going on in the world during the time when, "…the power of Eucharistic presidency came from the ordination of an individual without reference to his/her presidency over the community, first arose with the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) and was strengthened at the Council of Florence (1439)." as mentioned in John Mooney's research.
At the time of the Fourth Lateran Council, Innocent III was Pope, having attained that position through nepotism. Innocent III came from a very rich and influential family. His uncle, Pope Celestine III, trained Innocent as a theologian and then made him a Cardinal in 1190. After his election to Pope, Innocent III set about to realize his ideal of the pope as ecclesiastical ruler of the world with secular political power as well.
He acknowledged Frederick II as King of Sicily to gain favors from Frederick's mother, Empress Con stance (Holy Roman Empire). When Constance died, Innocent III took Frederick II in as his ward. In Germany a dispute between Philip of Swabia and Otto IV was arbitrated by the pope in favor of Otto (1201). Later (1207–8) the pope favored Philip, but after Philip's murder, Innocent crowned Otto (1209) as emperor, only to excommunicate him (1210) and dictate the election of the papal ward, Frederick, as German king (1212). Frederick made elaborate promises (as had Otto) favorable to the Holy See.
Innocent III got involved in the choosing of England's Archbishop of Canterbury. King John, enraged at what he felt was unwarrantable interference by the pope and in opposing the demands of the king, persecuted the church. As a result the pope laid England under the interdict, excommunicated John (1209), and even considered deposing him. The people and the barons supported the church, and John had to submit; he received England and Ireland in fief from the pope, promising annual tribute to the Holy See. Innocent was also the virtual overlord of Christian Spain, Scandinavia, Hungary, and the Latin East.
Later, in 1305, Pope Clement V moved the papacy to Avignon, France, under pressure from the French King. There, Clement and his successors exhausted the papal treasury living a lavish and corrupt lifestyle.
In 1377 Catherine of Siena forced Pope Gregory XI to close down the Avignon facilities and return to Rome. In 1378 an Italian pope, Urban VI, was elected after riots in the street against the ascension of another Frenchman. The Cardinals then fled back to France, declared the election of Urban to be invalid and elected another pope, Clement VII, who set himself up back in Avignon. There were two popes for 31 years, then a third pope was elected when a general council was assembled to solve the matter. However, neither of the deposed popes stepped down, so there were 3 popes for a time.
The newly elected third pope, John XXIII, (not the same as John XXIII of the 20th century), was previously a military leader, who was personally corrupt. He appointed relatives to high positions and spent papal funds for personal gain. He was later deposed as well.
Some of the Popes were corrupt. They were all about power and money; they were not of God.
So, what's real? Is there a true line of succession of popes back to Peter? Is Pope Benedict XVI the true pope or is he pope only as long as the people say that he is?
Do we accept the edicts of the corrupt men down through the ages? Should we believe that power rests in the hierarchy and that "Eucharistic presidency [comes only] from ordination" of an individual by that same hierarchy as promulgated by Innocent III and others down through the ages?
For me, I prefer the ways of the early church, before the corruption of man took hold. Gregory I, 590 to 604, coined the phrase, "servant of the servants of God" to describe the papacy. He implored, urged, recommended and discussed, but still got the job done without being a dictator. He believed in the old Roman adage, "What touches all, must be approved by all," i.e., everyone affected by a decision should have a seat at the table.
I have wondered why there should not be a "Western Rite," since there is an "Eastern Rite." I wonder why we have to be tied directly to the "Roman" Catholic Church. (The "Roman" Empire ceased to exist some time ago.) An argument can probably made that due to nepotism, corruption, etc., there is no true papal line back to Peter, anyway.
Perhaps the Western Catholic Church should have its own pope and, perhaps, just for the sake of balance & justice, it should be a woman. There are hierarchically ordained, but not approved, women bishops in this country. So, let's just set about approving one of them to be the Western Pope and move on with everyone having a seat at the table!!!
The basis for discrimination against women in the church goes all the way back to the fact that women were seen as unclean, during menstruation, by the Jews. The presumed ‘ritual uncleanness’ of women entered Church Law especially through the Decretum Gratiani (1140 AD), which became official Church law in 1234 AD. (You can bet that there were no women at the table to vote against the law in 1234 AD.). See http://www.womenpriests.org/traditio/unclean.asp - lots of documentation there.