Ausculta Fili

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A bull of Pope boniface viii indicting King Philip IV the Fair of France and announcing a synod for the reform of the Church in France. It was written Dec. 5, 1301. It is the most striking example in practice of Boniface's theory of the direct power of the papacy over the secular order. "Wherefore, dearest son," Boniface wrote, "let no one persuade you that you have not a superior or that you are not subordinate to the head of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. For he is a fool who so thinks, and whosoever pertinaciously affirms it brands himself an unbeliever." Philip burned the letter publicly in Paris. He circulated an emended version, together with a pretended answer to Boniface that started "your great fatuousness in temporalities we are subject to no one." There followed two years of bitter controversy culminating at Anagni, in September 1303. Though the original bull was burned, copies are extant in Boniface's Register in the Vatican Archives. The register copy is mutilated, since clement v had the more forceful passages erased.

Bibliography: j. riviÈre, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 5:767768; Le Problème de l'Église et de l'État au temps de Philippe le Bel (Paris 1926). t. s. r. boase, Boniface VIII (London 1933).

[l. e. boyle]