A bull of boniface viii, issued Nov. 18, 1302, in which the unity of the Church and the spiritual authority of the papacy are proclaimed. Occasioned by the second major struggle between Boniface and Philip IV of France, yet addressed to the universal Church, the bull declares that there is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church outside which there is neither salvation nor remission of sins. The Church represents the Mystical Body, whose head is Christ and in which there is one Lord, one faith, and one Baptism. Therefore, this one body, unlike a monster, has only one head, Christ and His vicar, Peter and his successors. Consequently, if anyone says that he has not been committed to Peter and his successors, he necessarily declares that he is not of Christ's sheep. In the power of the Church there are two swords, the spiritual and temporal, to be used by and for the Church. The first is in the hand of priests; the second is in the hand of kings and knights, but is to be used at the wish and permission of the priest. It is fitting that the temporal sword and power be subject to the spiritual since the latter excels the former in dignity and nobility as spiritual things are superior to temporal things. The spiritual power can establish the temporal power and judge it if it is not good. Consequently, if the temporal power should err, it will be judged by the spiritual; should a lesser spiritual power deviate, it will be judged by its superior; if, however, the supreme spiritual power errs, it will be judged not by man but by God alone. This authority, although given to men and exercised by them, is not human but divine. Therefore, whoever resists this power resists God's ordinance unless, like the heretical Manichaean, he argues for two original principles of power. Finally, in its only dogmatic definition the bull concludes: "We declare, state, and define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff." As a historical document, Unam sanctam must be set among the major events of the second crisis (1300–03) between Boniface and Philip IV and read as the culmination of the series of letters (Recordare rex inclyte, July 18, 1300; Secundum divina, Salvator mundi, Ante promotionem nostram, ausculta fili—and its French version, Deum time, Dec. 4–5, 1301, and Nuper ad audientiam, Aug. 15, 1303) sent by Boniface to Philip. In its theological implications, Unam sanctam must be interpreted against the background of the dispute among theologians, canonists, and legalists over the nature of papal supremacy. Boniface denied that he intended to take over temporal jurisdiction; his purpose was to correct abuses ratione peccati. clement v, in his brief Meruit, informed Philip that the spiritual and temporal status of France was not changed by Boniface's bull. However, like its author, Unam sanctam has remained controversial.
Bibliography: h. denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum, ed. a. schÖnmetzer, (Freiburg 1963) 870–875. g. h. tavard, "The Bull Unam Sanctam of Boniface VIII," in Papal Primacy and the Universal Church, eds. p. c. empie and a. t. murphy (Minneapolis 1974) 105–119. w. ullmann, "Boniface VIII and His Contemporary Scholarship," Journal of Theological Studies 27 (1976) 58–87. d. e. luscombe, "Lex divinitatis in the Bull Unam sanctam Pope Boniface VIII," in c. n. l. brooke, Church and Government in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, Eng., 1976) 205–221. j. muldoon, "Boniface VIII as Defender of Royal Power: Unam sanctam as a Basis for the Spanish Conquest of the Americas," in j. r. sweeney and s. chodorow, eds., Popes, Teachers, and Canon Law in the Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY 1989) 62–73.
[e. j. smyth]