From Manuscript to Print: the Evolution of the Medieval Book

 

Papal Bull
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Popes issued documents, known as papal bulls, in their administration of Church affairs. This papal bull, distributed by Innocent VIII in 1488, asserts the pope’s privilege of appointing the Master of the Spanish Order of St. James of Compostella, the pre-eminent pilgrimage site in Europe. The elongated characters of the heading, "SERVUS SERVORUM DEI," refer to the pope, who in his governance of the Church was to serve God’s servants rather than flaunt his power. By the time of Innocent VIII, however, the papacy had lost sight of the ideal of service that St. Gregory the Great had inculcated. Innocent VIII was more concerned with raising money to pay off debts than with guiding the moral life of the Church — so much so that at one point he even pawned the papal tiara. His conduct was typical of the papacy during the Renaissance, whose abuses led to the Reformation inaugurated by Martin Luther.

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Pope Innocent VIII. Papal Bull. Rome, 1488.
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